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Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) is a leading energy company in the UK and Ireland. As one of the largest integrated utility companies in the region, SSE has a critical role to play in the energy landscape and the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy systems. 

This article explores SSE's background, operations, financial performance, industry trends impacting the company, and its outlook for the future.


SSE: Lighting up the region

SSE was formed in December 1998 following the merger of Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric. The company is now a vertically integrated player in the electricity and natural gas market, engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution, and supply of electricity, and energy trading. 

With a diverse mix of renewable and conventional power generation assets, a significant transmission and distribution network, and retail services, SSE is well-positioned to adapt and respond to the evolving energy market.


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SSE: A multifaceted energy company

SSE operates business activities across three main divisions:

  • Wholesale: This division focuses on energy generation, with power generated from various sources including hydropower, onshore wind, offshore wind, biomass, and conventional sources. SSE's commitment to a low-carbon future has led to significant investments in renewable energy sources and energy storage.
  • Networks: SSE owns, operates, and maintains critical energy infrastructure such as transmission and distribution networks. Its key subsidiaries include Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, Southern Electric Power Distribution, and Scotia Gas Networks.
  • Retail: SSE's retail division supplies electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses across the UK and Ireland, with prominent brands such as SSE Energy Services, SSE Airtricity, and SSE Enterprise under its umbrella.

SSE's overarching strategy reflects an increasing emphasis on sustainability and low-carbon energy solutions, balanced by a need to maintain security of supply and ensure affordability for customers.


SSE’s financial performance in 2023


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In 2023, SSE PLC demonstrated resilience and strategic progress amidst a challenging global energy market. The company's financial performance showed a strong foundation, with notable outcomes in various business segments:

  • The adjusted operating profit was reported at £2,529.2 million, although the reported operating profit showed a loss of £146.3 million due to exceptional items.
  • Profit before tax on an adjusted basis stood at £2,183.6 million, while the reported profit before tax reflected a loss of £205.6 million.
  • The earnings per share were at 166.0p on an adjusted basis, indicating the company's ability to generate profit for its shareholders.

SSE's financial year 2023 was marked by strategic gains and financial and operational progress, even as it navigated through an uncertain energy landscape.

The company's Net Zero Acceleration Programme (NZAP) was central to this, with SSE confirming an increase to its capital investment plan and reiterating strong growth prospects.

They announced a £2.5 billion increase to the existing five-year investment programme, expecting £20.5 billion of investment in 2027, up from £18 billion previously.

This investment is aligned with SSE's strategic focus on developing and operating electricity infrastructure, from wind farms to networks and flexible power generation.

For the full year of 2023, SSE reported an adjusted EPS on continuing operations of 166.0p, a significant increase from 94.8p in the previous year. This performance was driven by strong outcomes from flexible thermal and hydro plants, balancing challenges faced by wind farms.

SSE plans to continue its focus on the disciplined execution of its growth strategy, expecting to report full-year 2023/24 adjusted EPS of more than 150p. This outlook accounts for factors such as weather conditions, plant performance, and market conditions, with the company managing risks through the second half of the year.


Industry trends shaping the energy landscape

SSE operates within an industry undergoing significant transformation, driven by factors such as decentralisation, digitalisation, and decarbonisation, leading to new opportunities and challenges.

  • Transition to renewable energy: With a global shift towards clean energy, SSE has been making significant investments in renewables, such as wind and hydro projects, to meet its sustainability goals and comply with the UK government's targets for decarbonisation.
  • Grid modernisation: As more distributed and intermittent energy sources come online, power grids require modernisation to handle these new challenges. SSE has been investing in smart grid technology and exploring innovative solutions to improve grid resilience, flexibility, and efficiency.
  • Energy storage: The intermittency of renewable sources necessitates advancements in energy storage technology. SSE has been trialling and implementing energy storage initiatives such as battery storage and pumped hydro storage to balance grid systems.
  • Digitalisation and customer empowerment: Digitisation is revolutionising the energy industry, from enabling smart-grid development to empowering consumers with greater control over their energy consumption. SSE is investing in digital technologies and employing data-driven strategies to optimise its systems, reduce costs, and provide tailored offerings to customers.


Tackling the challenges of tomorrow: SSE's outlook

Though SSE generates solid profits and stable returns, the road ahead presents several critical challenges that demand continued strategic and operational agility:

  • Navigating regulatory and policy changes: With the UK energy sector under significant scrutiny, SSE must adapt to changing regulations and policy requirements, including emissions targets, price caps, and levels of renewables integration.
  • Competing in a changing retail environment: The retail landscape is becoming increasingly competitive, with price-savvy customers and a surge of new market entrants. To remain competitive, SSE will need to provide innovative offerings and exceptional customer service, while continuing to expand into low-carbon energy solutions.
  • Balancing the trilemma of affordability, sustainability, and security: As an integrated energy company, SSE must reconcile the triple challenge of maintaining reliable and secure energy supplies, transitioning to a low-carbon future, and ensuring affordability for customers.


SSE PLC: Share price up amid energy shift


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As of now, SSE PLC's share price closed at 1,882.50 GBX on December 8, 2023, marking a rise of 12.50 GBX (+0.67%) from the previous trading session. 

This recent price is part of a broader trend in the stock's performance, where over a period from November 10 to December 8, 2023, the stock reached a high of 1,888.50 GBX and saw an overall increase of 13.30% from its lowest point of 1,652.00 GBX during the same period. 

SSE PLC, a United Kingdom-based electricity network company, is engaged in generating renewable electricity and operates a diversified mix of onshore and offshore wind, hydropower, and efficient gas-fired generation. 

The company has a presence across various countries and its segments include SSE Renewables, SSE Thermal, Gas Storage, Business Energy, Airtricity, Distributed Energy, and Energy Portfolio Management. 

For more detailed information about SSE PLC, including their latest news and financial reports, you can visit their official website. They provide real-time stock quotes, news, financial information, and historical data, which can help investors make informed decisions.


In conclusion

Scottish and Southern Energy plc, with its diverse portfolio and commitment to sustainable energy, is well-positioned to navigate the transformation of the energy sector. 

Meeting the demands of a low-carbon future requires continuous innovation, customer centricity, and strategic investments in networks, renewables, and technology.

The journey to a greener, more efficient energy system is fraught with challenges, but with perseverance and adaptability, SSE has the potential to drive the UK and Ireland towards a sustainable future while maintaining its position as a leading energy provider. 

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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