SSE plc

SSE plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: SSE
Industry Energy
Founded 1998 (1998)
Headquarters Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Area served
Great Britain & Ireland
Key people
Richard Gillingwater CBE (Chairman)
Alistair Phillips-Davies (CEO)
Brands Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro, Swalec, Airtricity
Services Power generation and distribution, natural gas production, transportation, and distribution, telecommunications, metering
Revenue £31,654.4 million (2015)[1]
£1,723.0 million (2015)[1]
£664.4 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
19,965 (2015)[1]

SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc) is a British energy company headquartered in Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom.[2][3] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

SSE operates in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It is involved in the generation and supply of electricity and gas, the operation of gas and telecoms networks and other energy-related services such as gas storage, exploration and production, contracting, connections and metering.

SSE is considered as one of the "Big Six" companies which dominate the energy market in the United Kingdom.



The company has its origins in two public sector electricity supply authorities. The former North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was founded in 1943 to design, construct and manage hydroelectricity projects in the Highlands of Scotland, and took over further generation and distribution responsibilities on the nationalisation of the UK's electricity industry in 1948. The former Southern Electricity Board was created in 1948 to distribute electricity in Southern England.

Whilst the Southern Electricity Board was a distribution-only authority, with no power generation capacity of its own, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric board was a broader spectrum organisation, with its own generating capabilities. Because of its history and location, the Hydro-Electric Board was responsible for most of the UK's hydroelectric generating capacity.

Both authorities were privatised in 1990/91, initially retaining their pre-privatisation geographic and functional bases. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board became Scottish Hydro-Electric, whilst the Southern Electricity Board became Southern Electric.


Scottish and Southern Energy was formed in 1998 following a merger between Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric.[4]

In 2000, Scottish and Southern Energy acquired the SWALEC energy supply business.[4] SWALEC operate exclusively in Wales while SSE operates in Scotland and England.[5] In 2004 the Company acquired the Ferrybridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Stations for £250million.[6] In 2008 it went on to buy Airtricity Holdings, an Irish wind farm business.[7] In 2009 it agreed to purchase Uskmouth power station from Welsh Power Group Limited.[8] In April 2010 the company purchased the natural gas exploration and production assets of Hess Corporation in three areas of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf - Everest/Lomond, Easington and Bacton.[9]

In January 2010, Scottish and Southern Energy changed the core company branding from Scottish and Southern Energy to SSE.[10]


A Scottish and Southern Energy van, 2011.

The company is the second largest supplier of electricity and natural gas in the United Kingdom, and the UK's largest generator of renewable energy.[11] It incorporates the brands Airtricity, SWALEC, Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro Electric and Atlantic Electric and Gas. It also owns Southern Electric Power Distribution, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission. Its subsidiaries are organised into the main businesses of generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity; storage and supply of gas; electrical and utility contracting, and domestic appliance retailing and telecoms. Grid connections are more difficult in North Scotland which receives funding from the rest of the UK to reduce tariffs.[12]

SSE also has an equity interest of 50% in, and provides corporate and management services to Scotia Gas Networks, which owns Southern Gas Networks and Scotland Gas Networks. Its contracting business has five main areas of activity: industrial, commercial and domestic, mechanical and electrical contracting; data communications; high-voltage design and maintenance; electrical and instrumentation engineering, and public and highway lighting.

In March 2016, SSE announced it would be closing all branches of its Scottish Hydro Electric shops and the accompanying online store,[13] citing "changing shopping habits and more customer choice meant the shops have been loss-making for a number of years".

Generation mix


SSE had 3,326MW of renewable capacity by the end of March 2014, including its share of joint ventures. The portfolio comprised (net): 1,150MW conventional hydro, 940MW onshore wind (GB), 544MW onshore wind (Ire), 355MW offshore wind, 300MW pumped storage at Loch Mhòr,[14] 38MW dedicated biomass. "SSE Wholesale Generation". 

In March 2014, SSE withdrew investment in four major offshore wind farms. It plans to sell its stake in the Galloper wind farm and pull investment from the Islay, Dogger Bank and Firth of Forth wind farms. SSE blamed "limited subsidies and high costs".[15]


At 30 September 2013, SSE had an ownership interest in 9,553MW of thermal generation plant in Great Britain and Ireland, comprising (net):

4,262MW of gas-fired and oil-fired generation (GB), 3,009MW of coal-fired generation (GB), 1068 MW of gas-fired generation (Ire),

Corporate affairs

Living wage

SSE is the UK's largest officially-accredited Living Wage Employer. Nearly 20,000 staff across the UK are guaranteed to receive the living wage rate of at least £7.85 an hour.[16] SSE works closely with the Living Wage Foundation and was awarded the Living Wage Champion Award for Scotland in 2014.

Fair Tax Mark

In October 2014 SSE became the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark which is an independent accreditation process for identifying companies making an effort to be transparent about their tax affairs.[17]


The SSE Hydro is an arena located in Glasgow, Scotland, on the site of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). The arena officially opened on 30 September 2013 and has a capacity of 13,000. It was designed by the London-based architects Foster + Partners. The SSE Hydro hosts international musical stars, global entertainment and sporting events, with an aim to attract one million visitors each year.

The company also sponsors Wembley Arena in London and the SSE Arena (formerly known as the Odyssey Arena), part of the Odyssey Complex in Belfast.

Main locations

SSE's main offices are located in Havant, Perth, Cumbernauld, Basingstoke and Cardiff.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). SSE. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. "Registered in Scotland No. 117119". Perth: Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  3. Brodie, Sophie (5 January 2008). "The Scottish utility". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  4. 1 2 "SSE plc - The UK's broadest-based energy company". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  6. "Scottish & Southern buys Fiddlers Ferry - Business News - Business - The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  7. Scottish & Southern to buy Irish Windfarm firm
  8. "SSE plc - The UK's broadest-based energy company". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  9. Kennedy, Simon (1 April 2010). "Scottish & Southern buys Hess assets for $423 mln". MarketWatch. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  10. First press release with new branding
  11. Scottish and Southern Energy Annual Report 2009
  12. "Assistance for Areas with High Electricity Distribution Costs - National Grid". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  13. "SSE to close remaining Scottish Hydro Electric shops". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  14. Foyers Hydro-Electric Power Scheme, Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved: 13 November 2015.
  15. "SSE scraps £20bn offshore wind farm plan and questions viability of sector". 26 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  16. "Energy firm SSE signs up as living wage employer". BBC. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  17. "SSE leads way in campaign for fairer taxation". Herald. 19 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
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