1. Energy
  3. ESS Energy

By Emma Lunn | Monday, May 17, 2021

SSE is one of the Big Six energy providers and a popular choice for millions of consumers looking for a reliable and affordable gas and electricity supplier.

So, is SSE good? Well, we’ve taken a detailed look at everything SSE has to offer, from its rates and discounts to its fuel blend and customer service record, so you can decide if it’s right for you.

About ESS

SSE stands for Scottish and Southern Energy. It was formed in December 1998 following the merger of Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric. Since then, it has acquired several other companies including SWALEC in August 2000 and Atlantic in April 2004.

SSE is a publicly traded company and the UK’s second largest energy company (British Gas is the largest). It supplies gas and electricity to more than 9.5 million customers. Its head office is in Reading, Berkshire.

SSE trades under a variety of names including SSE, SWALEC, Airtricity and Scottish Hydro, depending on the region. It is also a supply partner for M&S Energy. SSE had planned to merge its retail division with nPower, but canceled the deal in December 2018.

How much does ESS cost?

Don’t be fooled into thinking big means better or cheaper. The big six energy companies are important because they have been in business the longest and, in the case of SSE, have expanded their customer base by acquiring other companies.

In fact, SSE and the rest of the Big Six energy providers are consistently beaten by smaller providers in terms of price and customer service.

SSE announced in February 2019 that it would increase its prices from April 1, 2019. The company said around 2.1 million customers on its standard variable rate would be affected, with the price of bills increasing by around £ 117 per year.

Compare the best energy offers of the moment

Cable.co.uk currently recommends the following energy comparison sites. Click on the logo to visit their site and find the best deal for you.

Tariffs and contracts

SSE simplified its tariffs in 2012 after the regulator Ofgem said energy tariffs were too confusing. An overhaul of SSE’s product line saw its offering drop from 68 different tariffs to just four “base” tariffs.

SSE charges different rates depending on the region of the country in which you live. In addition to your location, the best SSE rate for you will depend on the size of your property and the amount of energy you use. You can enter your postal code on the SSE website to see the rates you will be entitled to and the cost.

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SSE fixed rates

SSE offers fixed rates over one, two and three years. The fixed period begins on the day that SSE begins to supply your energy.

If you opt for a fixed rate, the unit price of gas or electricity will remain the same for the fixed period. However, your bill can change depending on how much energy you use. SSE fixed fares have an exit charge of £ 25 per fuel if you depart before the end of the fixed period.

SSE will write to you between 42 and 49 days before the end date of your plan to remind you of its end. If you don’t take any action, it will switch you to its “cheapest permanent rate” at the end of your fixed period. This rate may not be the cheapest rate on SSE, or the cheapest on the market.

Normal rate

SSE’s standard fare is the most flexible – you can leave at any time without paying an exit fee. However, this will not be the cheapest tariff and it is a variable rate tariff, so if SSE implements gas or electricity prices, you will pay more for your energy right away.

All electric rates

SSE offers multi-tariff rates for customers with Economy 7 or Domestic Economy heating. On these systems, you get a meter that has two tariffs. One rate records the energy used during the day, and the other the energy used at night. These tariffs are generally used by households equipped with electric storage heaters, which you can heat during the night tariff during off-peak hours.

Compare the best energy offers of the moment

Cable.co.uk currently recommends the following energy comparison sites. Click on the logo to visit their site and find the best deal for you.

Customer service

SSE says it believes in the need to make energy “simpler, more transparent and of better value” for customers. It was the first UK energy company to simplify tariffs and the first to end controversial door-to-door sales practices.

But the Which? energy customer survey in 2018 saw SSE rank 22nd out of 30 energy companies. Which? readers have given it three out of five stars for billing, helping customers reduce energy consumption and value for money. Its customer service over the phone and online has been awarded four stars. SSE may have gotten off the Which? Table well, but he has beaten all of his Big Six rivals.

Ofgem figures show that SSE receives a level of complaints comparable to other energy companies of a similar size. But the provider is ahead of other Big Six providers in the number of complaints resolved at the end of the next business day and the number of complaints resolved within eight weeks.

How green is the ESS?

SSE is the UK’s largest producer of energy from renewable sources. It operates hydropower, onshore and offshore wind turbines and biomass power plants across the UK.

SSE’s energy mix is ​​made up of a number of different fuels such as coal, gas, nuclear and renewable resources (sun, wind and water). Energy suppliers are required to publish annual figures on their energy mix. This includes both electricity created by a supplier’s assets as well as electricity purchased to meet customer demand. The SSE standard fuel mix for the full year up to March 2018 was 65% natural gas, 5% nuclear, 7% coal, 21% renewables and 2% “other”.

All of this shows that the SSE lags behind the UK average when it comes to the use of renewable energy sources. There are a number of smaller providers offering greener energy prices than SSE, with some offering 100% renewable electricity.

HSE discounts

SSE offers a direct debit discount of £ 40 per fuel per year, compared to using any other payment method. By opting for paperless invoicing, you get a discount of £ 6 per year per fuel. So customers who pay by direct debit and choose paperless billing can save a total of £ 92 each year.

SSE offers the Warm Home discount. This is a one-time payment of £ 140 from the government on your energy bill which you can get if you have low income or certain benefits.

Reward Programs

SSE customers are eligible to join SSE Reward, which grants SSE customers access to exclusive pre-sales of tickets for SSE Arena in Belfast, SSE Arena in Wembley and SSE Hydro in Glasgow. It is also possible to discover SSE customer lounges and win prizes.

Others products

In addition to energy, SSE also offers telephony and broadband packages, home services such as boiler and heating blanket, and boiler and central heating installations.

Smart meters

All energy providers in the UK are equipping customers’ homes with smart meters by 2020. SSE installs smart meters free of charge and offers customers a home display (Smart Energy Tracker or Smart Energy Monitor) to show how many ‘energy they’ re using. You can also see how much energy you are using by logging into your SSE online account.

Smart meters save you time because they automatically send the readings to the supplier. This means you will no longer have to read your meter and your bills should always be accurate and up to date. They can also save you money – tracking how much energy you are using in real time could help you reduce your energy use.

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats let you control your heating and hot water from your smartphone when you’re on the go. If you buy a new boiler from SSE you will receive a free Tado smart thermostat worth over £ 200.

Switch to ESS

There are two main ways to switch your gas or electricity supply, or both, to SSE – you can either go through a price comparison website like uSwitch or go directly to SSE.

In any case, the change process normally takes around three weeks and there is a cooling off period of 14 days from the date of your registration. Note that if you wish, you can cancel for free during this period.

Use a price comparison site

A price comparator compares all the energy prices on the market for you. SSE accepts switches from price comparison sites, which is not the case with all energy suppliers.

Once you enter your details into the price comparison site and choose SSE, the site will handle the change for you, contacting both SSE and your old supplier to arrange for their change. Don’t worry, you won’t lose service and your pipes and meters will stay the same.

Compare the best energy offers of the moment

Cable.co.uk currently recommends the following energy comparison sites. Click on the logo to visit their site and find the best deal for you.

Direct switch with SSE

The other option is to switch directly to SSE. The process is quite similar. SSE will notify your current provider that you are changing providers and then notify you of the date of the change. You will need to provide meter readings on or near the changeover date. If you are paying by direct debit, you will need to provide your bank details to SSE.

Prepaid customers can switch to SSE if they have less than £ 500 debt on their meter. The Debt Assignment Protocol allows prepaid customers to switch providers and take any debt with them.

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