SSE taken over by Ovo Energy - what will change?
Once one of the UK’s major providers with a base of 3.5 million customers, SSE has sold its retail energy division to a competitor and its customers will gradually be switched over. Are you an SSE customer? Read on to find out how you’ll be affected.
In this section, we’re going to go through a few burning questions relating to SSE, including some background and information about its takeover.
What does SSE stand for?
SSE stands for Scottish and Southern Energy plc, a name which comes from the merger which led to the formation of the company in 1998 between Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric.
Is SSE being taken over?
Yes. In fact, SSE’s retail arm, the department responsible for supplying homes and businesses with energy, has already been bought out by Ovo Energy as of January 2020. The acquisition more than tripled Ovo’s market share, making it the second-largest energy provider in the United Kingdom.
The Ovo takeover occurred after a planned merger between SSE and Npower failed in December 2018, with the pair complaining that the government-imposed price cap had diminished the financial prospects of the proposed combined company.
How will the takeover affect existing SSE customers?
For now, the SSE brand continues to operate under Ovo ownership with no change to customers’ supply or tariff. This is because Ovo has agreed to a transition phase during which time existing SSE tariffs will be honoured, but as contracts run out SSE customers will be switched over to Ovo.
Don’t want to switch to Ovo Energy?Not to worry, customers are under no obligation to switch to Ovo. You can switch to any provider you like free of charge once your deal with SSE comes to end. If that’s coming up soon, find the cheapest option on our make the switch page.
In the meantime, SSE customers will continue on their current deal and are still able to use their SSE login as normal. For more information about the switch to Ovo, contact SSE or Ovo directly.
SSE share price
Although its retail division has been sold off, SSE’s other divisions continue to operate and it is still listed on the London Stock Exchange. The SSE share price at the time of writing stands at £1,329.03, up from a year’s low of £1,072.50 at the end of March 2020, when the Covid-19 outbreak reached the UK. Since March, it has seen a steady increase in value.
SSE Reviews - is it any good?
SSE customers who are being switched over to Ovo Energy can take comfort from the fact that it can’t get any worse, as the vast majority of them record terrible experiences on consumer review site Trustpilot. SSE reviews are almost 90% negative, with 86% of reviewers giving the provider the worst rating of 1 star.
What’s the problem, then? SSE reviews tend to point to billing problems (usually being overcharged) and poor customer service as their main issues. Here’s what one reviewer had to say about getting a complaint resolved with SSE:
Never again. Six months later I get a bill from a flat I used to rent. SSE can't tell me why or where it came from, one employee told me its maybe a glitch or possibly they owe me!!! Countless emails but nobody can tell me why. I spent more on phone bills than the original bill.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to do the legwork when a company can’t get your issue resolved, especially when it’s costing you money, so we can’t see why we would recommend a provider that’s capable of this sort of incompetence.
There is not much in the way of positive reviews to balance the many 1-star SSE reviews to be found, so the only silver lining we will offer is that unhappy customers won’t have to endure the same treatment for long. Reviews for Ovo are considerably more positive, so your experience after switching should improve - fingers crossed! For more information about Ovo reviews, head over to its dedicated provider page.
SSE tariffs are available for all types of meter and across a variety of payment methods. How much you’ll pay for your tariff will depend on where you live in the UK and how much energy you use. If you’ve been with SSE for a number of years, it’s likely your initial deal has ended and you’re currently on a standard variable tariff, the cost of which is broken down in this graph, along with a couple of its fixed tariffs:
|Tariff||Gas standing charge||Gas unit rate (kWh)||Electricity standing charge||Electricity unit rate (kWh)||Estimated annual cost|
|SSE standard variable tariff||27.35p||3.61p||23.71p||17.60p||£898.36|
|SSE 1 Year Fix tariff||27.35p||3.54p||23.71p||17.37p||£887.86|
|SSE 2 Year Fix v3 tariff||27.35p||3.56p||23.71p||17.39p||£889.94|
These estimates, which are for a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in London, show SSE’s pricing in a favourable light. SSE tariffs all come in a couple of hundred pounds under Ofgem’s price cap of £1,127, which is easy enough to get behind. Bear in mind that these are the rates you would pay with a monthly direct debit, and that they differ depending on how you pay.
While none of these deals offers considerably more value for money than the other, we must remind you that the rate of the standard variable tariff can change at any point, so if you can commit to a year or two you may be saving more than just the tenner you see here.
For full details about SSE tariffs, go to its website, where you can find detailed terms and conditions for the full range - if you look hard enough!
Green energy tariffs
- Reduce their carbon footprint.
- Report zero emissions for ‘Scope 2’ purchased electricity.
- Demonstrate their commitment to renewable energy and sustainability with REGO certification.
- Enhance their reputation as a green company with customers and stakeholders.
It’s encouraging that there are at least some green SSE tariffs available, even if only to business customers, but we’re not sure about the angle it’s taking in terms of selling it. The emphasis is very much on a business’s ability to appear green rather than on the advantages of being green for its own sake, which we see as paramount.
The good news for SSE customers who are about to be switched to Ovo is that Ovo does offer green tariffs! To inquire about going green when you switch, get in touch with Ovo to find out more.
Like all UK energy suppliers, SSE is obliged to release information about where it sources its energy from. You can see it for yourself, plus compare it with the UK average, in this table:
As you can see, SSE relies heavily on natural gas for its energy, with around two-thirds coming from this source. It sources next to nothing from nuclear energy, which some will prefer, but it also falls behind the average in terms of its use of renewable sources. Unfortunately, signing up to energy with SSE does mean your home energy will be sourced largely from burning fossil fuels.
We find the lack of investment in renewables a concerning trend seen across the Big Six, and we would recommend the environmentally-conscious among you to shop around to find one of the many green energy tariffs available on the market now.
To manage your account easily, you can go online or to the My SSE App with your SSE login. The app allows you to perform the following functions on-the-go:
- See a summary of your energy usage, with up-to-date account balances, details of your next bill and payment dates.
- Quickly submit meter readings by scanning your meter or entering them manually.
- Monitor your energy usage (and how much you’re spending) hour-by-hour with a smart meter.
- View your payment history going back up to two years.
The app is available for download on both the App Store and the Google Play store, and has an average rating of nearly 5 stars on both - so it seems to be doing its job very well! For more SSE login information, see the My SSE page on the provider’s website.
Need help? To login, simply enter the app or go to the SSE website and click the ‘My Account’ button on the top right corner of the page. You’ll be asked for the email address you registered with and your password. If you’ve forgotten the password to your SSE login, you can recover them by clicking on the button below which reads ‘Forgot your password?’ They will send you a link to reset it.
SSE smart meter
SSE is committed to rolling out smart meters in accordance with the government’s plan to have one fitted in all homes across the UK. It recommends getting an SSE smart meter fitted for the following reasons:
- An SSE smart meter will send readings automatically, so you won’t have to read your meter and your bills should always be accurate and up-to-date.
- You can save energy and money: tracking exactly how much energy you're using in real-time could help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Your SSE smart meter will be installed at no extra cost to you.
For more information on its smart meters, see the SSE smart meter page on the provider’s website.
SSE Warm Home Discount
Fortunately for SSE customers, it does offer the Warm Home Discount. If you qualify under the Core Group, you will have been notified by the government and the scheme’s £140 discount will be deducted from your bill automatically. If you don’t, you can still apply for the SSE Warm Home Discount and be counted under the Broader Group.
Members of the Broader Group must apply for the SSE Warm Home Discount every year, with no guarantee that they’ll be accepted, even if they were the year before, as the criteria for acceptance is subject to change. Details of the 2020/21 scheme are not yet available, but you can register your interest in it via the SSE Warm Home Discount page on the provider’s website.
Looking for a career with SSE? Even though its retail arm has been sold, there are still plenty of opportunities to land SSE jobs in locations across the country. The best place to look is its Careers page, where you’ll find SSE jobs listed in the following departments:
- Engineering and technical
- IT and digital
- Commercial and project management
- Customer service
The above departments are gone into in more detail and listings can be found for each in the SSE website’s ‘Join our team’ section. You can create an account and register an email to be kept up-to-date with postings in the area you’re interested in, as well as upload your CV to make applying for SSE jobs easier in the future.
The Careers page also includes a ‘Life at SSE’ section, so you can see whether an SSE job would live up to your expectations. For more information, head over to the SSE website, or if you’d rather get in touch with someone its recruitment team directly you can send an email to one of the following addresses:
Get in touch with SSE: contact numbers
Looking for an SSE contact number? There are several available for its various arms - here’s a list of numbers for each department:
|Office||SSE contact number|
|Head office||01738 456 000|
|SSEN Transmission||0800 048 3516|
|SSE Renewables||01738 456 000|
|SSE Enterprise||0345 070 2019|
|SSE Airtricity||0345 601 9093|
|SSE Business Energy||0345 725 2526|
|SSE Media Team||0345 0760530|
If you would rather not wait to speak with someone over the phone, you will find email addresses for several of these contacts on the SSE website’s contact page. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an online chat function you can use at present. The address for SSE’s main office is Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ.
Looking for a number to use in case of an emergency?If you’re an SSE customer and you want to report a gas emergency, the number to call is 0800 111 999, which is a 24-hour emergency line. To report a power cut, call 105.