Energy giant SSE, which also trades as Scottish Hydro, Southern Electric, SWALEC, Atlantic and Airtricity, has revealed that it has lost a staggering 90,000 customers in the last three months and 500,000 customers over the past year.
SSE blamed increasingly tough competition for the desertion of its customers in May this year, and now that the true figures have been revealed this is one of the most shocking loss of customers for one of the big six that we have seen yet.
- SSE’s number of electricity and gas customer accounts in markets in Great Britain and Ireland fell from 8.58 million on 31 March 2015 to 8.49 million.
Shares have now fallen 4% as a result. Also contributing to the drop in shares is the announcement from SSE that annual profits from its energy supply arm were also likely to fall. Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Our financial outlook remains as set out in May and we are in a good position to respond constructively to the key issues likely to emerge in this financial year and beyond.” But early indications of an ability to win back customers aren’t there.
For instance, there was no announcement of a price cut in SSEs trading statement today. And there was no mention of why they have lost so many customers. Which will lead many to believe that SSE simply doesn’t know why people are deserting them. Could it be the fact that smaller, independent energy suppliers like Ovo and Utilita are offering better deals? Or could it be because SSE has anything but a stellar reputation for customer service?
Whatever the reasons behind SSE losing 500,000 customers in a year, one thing is for sure, and that is that SSE needs to act fast to inspire public confidence. They may well have cash stacked away for a rainy day but this will soon run dry if their customers keep leaving them at the current rate.