SSE Swalec Gas & Electric Review
Swalec is SSE’s trading name for Wales and stands for South Wales Electricity. Its prices aren't famed for being the cheapest and it has come in for some criticism in the past. It has been an SSE brand for more than two decades, having been bought out by the energy giant in 2000. Could it surprise you? Read on to find out.
In general, Swalec fares very badly in terms of customer reviews, with customers complaining of being overcharged or their bill being much higher than quoted. As Swalec and SSE use the same customer service, you can take a look at our SSE reviews section to see what customers have to say about this. As a taster, though, here are a couple of real Swalec reviews of the kind of service it offers.
I live on my own. I use very little gas or electricity. SSE seem to be really keen to "help me" prepare for the winter months by building up £400+ credit on my account.
Frustrations run high when it comes to billing errors. The key to being a successful energy company in the UK is having accurate billing and clear communication about tariffs and policies with customers. It's not encouraging to see so many complaining that SSE gets this so very wrong.
Nor does the supplier seem to be making up for these errors in other areas. Another common complaint among SSE Swalec reviews seems to be that customers feel they're being made to wait too long over the phone:
I have been without electric for 10 days! I’ve called every single day and been on the phone for 1 hour plus at a time. Each time I get someone telling me something different.
With both of these reviews coming within the past couple of months, the outlook is worrying for prospective customers. This second review illustrates a few serious red flags - basic errors with service, poor customer service, and confusing processes. We would suggest avoiding providers like this if you don't want your energy supply to cause you any headaches.
As an SSE trading name, Swalec complaints performance is included in that of SSE. The supplier received 73,850 complaints in the second quarter of 2020 of which 72.90% were resolved by the end of the next working day. This is actually relatively small number of complaints given SSE’s size, and represents a big drop from previous periods, but the provider still has a little work to do to improve the speed of its complaints handling.
Swalec is SSE’s trading name for the Welsh market, like Scottish Hydro is in Scotland and Southern Electric is in Southern England. Before SSE came into the picture in 2000, Swalec was one part of the South Wales Electricity Board.
Is Swalec part of SSE?
Yes. According to the 2000 Ofgem report on the acquisition, SSE is a vertically integrated energy company that controls energy at various stages from production to supply. Swalec, on the other hand, operates primarily as a supply business through SSE (its parent company).
Swalec originally provided SSE with the tools for market penetration outside of its traditional areas of influence. This was crucial at the turn of the millennium, since the UK energy market was still undergoing deregulation and there wasn’t sufficient process maturity for customers to easily switch from their traditional regional energy suppliers.
Swalec’s first purchaser was actually Welsh Water, which had only recently become a private concern itself. The rationale behind the acquisition was being able to find market synergies between the two types of utility company: water and power. The Swalec brand outlasted the organisation in the sports arena, with the Swalec Rugby Championship being an ongoing example.
The SSE Swalec and Sophia Gardens
The Cardiff stadium inked a ten-year sponsorship deal with Swalec back in 2008 for £1.5 million. While it was initially called Swalec Stadium, the name changed to the SSE Swalec in 2015 to reflect SSE’s ownership of the company. In 2018, SSE chose not to renew the naming rights, which heralded the return of the stadium’s longstanding name.
The Glamorgan County Cricket Club calls the stadium home and the venue has hosted international cricket test matches since 1999. The stadium can welcome over 15,000 cricket fans for major sporting events such as the recent Cricket World Cup.
Swalec Tariffs & Prices
Swalec has the same set of tariffs as SSE: a standard variable plan, a one-year fixed plan, a two-year fixed plan, and a couple of specialised offers. In Wales, where Swalec operates, its prices are relatively high compared to other suppliers.
There is no difference in price between SSE's variable and one-year fixed plan, so you might say it's not worth signing up for the fixed deal. Remember, however, that the price of its variable deal is subject to change and it's always worth considering locking in a good price for as long as you can.
As we've mentioned, however, SSE Swalec tariffs are not particularly cheap - you can certainly find cheaper and more environmentally-friendly deals, often both together. Swalec's best tariff, for our money, is its specialist electric vehicle tariff - the SSE Fix and Drive tariff - which has the same rates as its standard and one-year fixed tariffs but includes 8,000 miles of free electricity when you charge your vehicle outside of peak hours.
SSE Swalec Fuel Mix
As an SSE trading name, SSE Swalec uses the SSE fuel mix, which relies on a mix of natural gas (48.1%) and renewable sources (51.9%), as shown in the table below:
|SSE Swalec average||0%||48.1%||0%||51.9%||0%|
SSE is still to a large extent reliant on natural gas, though the rest it sources from renewables. Nowadays, green suppliers are able to buy clean and renewable electricity at competitive market rates, and plenty offer 100% green tariffs.
The excuse that renewables, such as solar, wind, tidal and hydro are expensive and impracticable is no longer valid in this day and age, so we see no reason an eco-conscious customer should settle for less than 100%.
The truth is that nowadays there are many alternatives that offer exactly the same electricity and gas as SSE Swalec, but for less money and from much greener sources. It’s worth checking out energy companies like Octopus and Bulb, among others, for these kinds of deals.
SSE Swalec customers can access bills and account online on the SSE website by clicking “My Account” in the top right corner of the homepage. Customers can also access their account using their mobile by downloading the SSE mobile app.
Once successfully logged in, you’ll be able to carry out a number of common tasks to manage your gas and electricity billing options and service.
- Live chat available directly within your account. You can get assistance without having to call.
- View full copies of your bills for up to 2 years. This can help clarify billing issues stemming from estimated billing.
- Your online account will also give you real-time smart meter data from the comfort of your computer.
- Submit your own meter readings and keep your balance current.
- Pay bills and outstanding balances online.
To login, you will need to have successfully registered and linked your account number. Here at The Switch, we recommend that you use a computer or tablet to access the website in order to save yourself any unnecessary frustration. On mobile, it's best to stick to the app.
How to register
Before being able to log in to your account, you may need to register as a former Swalec customer now with SSE. To do so, you will need to furnish some basic information to get going with your account, such as:
- The bill payer’s first and last name
- The bill payer’s phone number
- An email address (to be entered twice for validation)
- An original password (to be entered twice for validation)
Once you've entered this information correctly and set your email notification preferences, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to validate your account. Once you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll be taken back to the Swalec login page.
You will be asked to enter a product account number, which is made up of 10 digits without spaces or other characters (punctuation marks or letters). This number will match up your online account with your energy or other SSE Swalec services. Once entered, you will be able to manage your account online. This number can be found either in your welcome pack or on your latest bill.
Here are a couple of easy things to consider if your registration and account onboarding are not going as planned:
- If the issue comes from accidentally entering an incorrect email address then your best option to restart the registration process with a functioning email address.
- If the welcome email has not reached your inbox in a day, you should call 0345 070 0523 to sort out your access.
Business energy account management can also be done online through the new SSE branded login page. You just need to have your username and password ready to enter in the box titled BEC login.
Before being able to seamlessly sign in you will need to sign up which involves providing some more information. After having picked what user category you fall under, business customer or energy consultant being the two options, you will select the following details:
- Username with at least 6 characters that have to be letters or numbers.
- Password at least 8 characters long
- Security question that will help you recover your account if you forget your password.
- Security answer that will validate your account recovery.
- Personal details including: name, phone number, fax number and business email.
Swalec smart meter
Customers are able to get an SSE Swalec smart meter fitted if they want to by going to the SSE website to book an appointment with an engineer. It's currently up to you whether to fit your home with a smart meter, but the rollout will eventually reach all parts of the country and SSE Swalec is obliged to offer them.
It's recommended you get your Swalec smart meter fitted for the following reasons:
- It will save you the time and effort of taking manual readings, instead sending out accurate readings automatically.
- It will save you money by helping you reduce wasted energy in your home, which is also better for the environment.
- It's free to install as a part of your energy deal!
Warm home discount
SSE Swalec customers are able to receive the Warm Home Discount either as part of the Core Group or by applying to under the Broader Group. If you qualify under the Core Group, you will be notified by the government and receive the £140 discount automatically.
If you haven't been notified but think you may qualify as a part of the Broader Group, you can apply via the SSE website. You will need to apply every year and are not guaranteed acceptance, even if you received the discount the previous year. The discount is given out on a first-come, first-served basis and criteria can change every year.
How do I contact Swalec?
Looking for a Swalec contact number? There are several available depending on the issue you're experiencing. Some phone numbers have automated servers (e.g. meter readings). You'll notice that SSE Swalec customer care operating hours are relatively long compared to other suppliers.
|Query||Swalec contact number||Operating hours|
|Switching to SSE Swalec||0800 975 7542
0845 070 2134 (installations)
|Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Saturday, 8am-2pm|
|Moving home||0800 107 9639||Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Saturday, 8am-2pm|
|Meter readings||0800 107 3205||24/7|
|Payments||0800 980 9649||24/7|
|Pay as you go||0800 980 0425 (electricity)
0800 980 0424 (gas)
0800 980 2841 (moving house)
|Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-2pm|
|General enquiries||0800 980 9041||Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-2pm|
|Complaints||0800 052 5252||Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-2pm|
If you'd rather not wait around to speak with someone over the phone, you can use the live chat function available via the SSE website or the mobile app.
Looking for a number to use in case of an emergency?SSE Swalec customers, or customers of any supplier, should report gas emergencies by calling 0800 111 999, which is a 24-hour emergency line for customers of any provider. To report a power cut, call 105.