SSE plans broadband and boiler-service offerings to halt customer slide

SSE has announced plans to sell up to a third of its 50% stake in gas distribution network business SGN. The company said it was likely to return the cash to shareholders.

In results for FY2015/16 SSE said customer energy account numbers in GB and Ireland had fallen from 8.58 million to 8.21 million, but the decline was slowing. It hoped to grow other domestic businesses, it said, revealing plans for a national expansion of its home services business. It also said it wanted to  ‘build scale’ in its broadband and telephony businesses. It promised new products, but also a reduced cost to serve by upgrading its web and digital customer communication channels.

The company said it had now installed 200,000 smart meters.

On generation, SSE said three wind farms – Dunmaglass, Clyde Extension and Bhlaraidh – would start up with Renewables Obligation subsidy in 2017. Next year will also see the start of construction at the Beatrice offshore wind farm.

Thermal generation “continued to be challenging” SSE said, but it expected that lower wholesale gas prices and the closure of coal-fired plants would see a trend towards more gas-fired generation continuing. As a result “SSE will continue and retain and develop options for new stations at Keadby 2 in Lincolnshire and Seabank 3 near Bristol”. It expects to take a final investment decision on a second ‘multifuel’ unit at Ferrybridge this year.

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