SSE: Brexit vote could cause more uncertainty

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of Perth-based energy giant SSE, said the outcome of the EU referendum “could lead to aspects of the financial, regulatory and political environment becoming more uncertain in the years ahead.”

In a trading update before the firm’s annual general meeting in Perth, SSE said that in the quarter to the end of June its number of retail electricity and gas customer accounts in Great Britain and Ireland fell from 8.21 million to 8.16 million.

“SSE has made a solid start to the financial year with continued focus on operational efficiency … and progressing long-term investments in the UK’s and Ireland’s energy infrastructure, including significant progress with the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm and the new Caithness-Moray electricity transmission link,” said Phillips-Davies.

SSE is one of Scotland’s biggest companies, with a stock market value of almost £16.5 billion.

In the trading update, SSE said the markets in which it operates “are subject to a high degree of regulatory and legislative intervention” and that politics, regulation and compliance are among its principal risks. 

“Consequently, the potential impact to the SSE Group of the outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has been considered against this identified principal risk and SSE will continue to monitor and manage any impact on its businesses following the result of the EU referendum,” the company said.

“SSE continues to engage openly and constructively with the four governments within the UK, the Irish government and the EU institutions, and encourages them to take every opportunity to work together also.

“It is optimistic that this will happen in practice and that the four governments within the UK will each adopt a carefully considered and responsible approach to all of the issues arising from the EU referendum result.

“Energy flows across geographical borders and SSE believes that the UK’s focus should be on competitively and cost-effectively maintaining security of supply and decarbonising the economy, supported by progressive market harmonisation.  

“In its representations to governments, SSE will therefore make the case in this period for stability, market harmonisation and effective carbon pricing.”