In good news for Which?’s Fix the Big Six campaign, SSE has announced a price freeze until 2016 and a plan to separate its retail and wholesale businesses. Here’s SSE’s Will Morris to explain today’s announcements.
Freezing our prices until at least 2016 is the longest unconditional energy price commitment ever made – and we think this action will make a real difference.
Before deciding to freeze prices we surveyed people to find out what they thought about energy bills. And the answer that came through was loud and clear: 81% of people were worried about energy prices rising again in the next two years. This echoes Which? research that consistently finds 8 in 10 are worried about the cost of energy.
We listened and hope to give all our customers peace of mind by guaranteeing not to raise our standard prices until at least 2016. Sure, some other companies might have a few fixed price deals, but these come and go. This is for everyone and regardless of what happens to global energy prices.
How SSE can freeze prices
But you might ask how can we deliver this? We’re making cost efficiencies within our company, we’ll be making less profit from supplying energy, we’re buying ahead to safeguard against energy price shocks and the Government has listened to calls to make its energy efficiency scheme more cost-effective.
But we don’t want to stop at today’s price freeze. We’d prefer to reduce bills again and to hold them as low as possible for as long as possible. And that’s why we want the cost of government schemes – to support good things like energy efficiency and low-carbon electricity – to come off energy bills altogether and be paid for through general taxation. That would allow us to take around £100 off bills, at next year’s figures.
We’re not against the aims of these policies, which have been introduced by all the main parties. We just want to see a fairer way to pay for them. And what’s more, people agree – 62% of those we surveyed agreed with us that they should be paid for through taxation and only 17% disagreed.
Separating retail and wholesale buisinesses
And chiming with Which?’s Fix the Big Six campaign, we also plan to legally separate our retail and wholesale businesses by March 2015. We hope this plan to improve transparency proves our appetite for reform that’s in the interests of our customers.
We’ve taken action today but we also want to work with politicians from all parties to tackle the rising cost of supplying energy. We urge them to join us in taking action, and together we can make an even bigger difference for customers.
What do you think about SSE’s action to freeze energy prices and its plans to increase transparency? Do you want to see other energy suppliers follow suit?
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Will Morris, SSE Retail’s Group Managing Director. All opinions expressed here are his own, not necessarily those of Which?.