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SSE Plc

SSE plc Early Despite challenges confident remain on track

SSE plc (LON: SSE) announced today that its Annual General Meeting will take place later today in Perth. This trading statement:

· Provides an overview of the performance of SSE’s businesses in the first quarter of this financial year;

· States that SSE’s outlook for the financial year 2019/20 remains unchanged from the outlook given in May 2019, despite lower than forecast renewable energy output in the first three months; and

· Re-iterates SSE’s intention to recommend a full-year dividend of 80 pence per share for 2019/20, in line with the five-year dividend plan set out in May 2018.

SSE plc Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said:

“The early months of our financial year have brought some short-term challenges and some encouraging longer-term developments, but the key months of our financial year lie ahead. I am confident we will make good progress in delivering against our strategic priorities, including the five- year dividend plan out to 2023.

“The fact the UK has become the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 is a key development in the fight against climate change and reinforces SSE’s strategic focus on regulated electricity networks and renewable energy, and our commitment to creating value through the low carbon transition.”

FINANCIAL OUTLOOK FOR 2019/20

The key months in SSE’s financial year are still to come, but the overall outlook provided in May 2019 in relation to adjusted operating profit across a number of SSE’s business units in 2019/20 remains unchanged. This is despite lower than expected output of renewable energy in the three months to 30 June, with the shortfall in output equivalent to less than 4% of the annual forecast total. As stated in May, the outlook for adjusted operating profit includes suspended Capacity Market payments totalling £148m. Group adjusted net finance costs and group capital and investment expenditure in 2019/20 continue to be in line with that set out in May.

DIVIDENDS

SSE believes that its dividends should be sustainable, based on the quality and nature of its assets and operations, the earnings derived, and the value created from them and the longer-term financial outlook. It remains committed to its dividend plan for the five years to March 2023, as set out in May 2018, including a full-year dividend of 80 pence per share for 2019/20.

Q1 PERFORMANCE AND KEY DEVELOPMENTS

Safety

SSE believes sustainable value creation is only possible in a safe working environment. The combined Total Recordable Injury Rate for SSE’s employees and employees of contractors working on its sites was 0.14 per 100,000 hours worked in the 12-month period ending 30 June 2019, compared with 0.20 in the same period in 2018.

SSEN Distribution

SSEN Distribution3 months to 30-Jun-20193 months to 30-Jun-2018
Customer minutes lost (SHEPD) – average per customer1217
Customer minutes lost (SEPD) – average per customer1012
Customer interruptions (SHEPD) – per 100 customers1221
Customer interruptions (SEPD) – per 100 customers1012
Electricity transported through SSEN Distribution – TWh8.88.9
These KPIs are part of the Interruptions Incentive Scheme for electricity distribution customers operated by Ofgem and excludes exceptional events.

In April, SSEN Distribution joined together with key local and national industry partners to launch Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire), one of the most wide-ranging and holistic smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK. An industry-first, Project LEO aims to replicate and trial aspects of the Distribution System Operator models being explored by industry, government and Ofgem.

SSEN Transmission

In June SSEN Transmission published its draft Business Plan for the RIIO T2 Price Control, ‘A Network for Net Zero’. It includes details of SSEN Transmission’s ‘Certain View’ of the next Price Control period which sets out that a minimum total expenditure of £2.2bn is required over the five-year Price Control period to maintain and grow the north of Scotland transmission network to meet the certain needs of current and future electricity generators and customers. This could see the Regulatory Asset Value of SSEN Transmission increase to over £5bn by 2026.

SSE Renewables

 Renewable Generation3 months to 30-Jun-20193 months to 30-Jun-2018
Onshore wind generation output – GWh856766
Offshore wind generation output – GWh407213
Conventional hydro generation output – GWh482535
Pumped storage output – GWh4948
Total renewables output – GWh1,7941,562
Output from electricity generating plant in which SSE has an ownership interest (output based on SSE’s contractual share) across the UK and Eire.  Wind output excludes 85GWh of constrained off generation in Q1 2019/20 and 86GWh in Q1 2018/19. 

The increase in output of electricity from renewable sources, summarised in the table above, largely reflects the delivery of new wind farm capacity since June 2018. However, the weather across the UK and Ireland meant renewable output in the three months to June 2019 was around 400 GWh, or close to 20%, lower than expected in a typical year (including generation constrained off). This represents less than 4% of the annual forecast total output.

SSE Renewables is involved in three projects eligible to enter the 2019 Contracts for Difference auction, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Thermal Generation

Thermal3 months to 30-Jun-20193 months to 30-Jun-2018
Gas- and oil-fired (incl. CHP and multi-fuel) generation output – GWh3,8105,313
Coal-fired generation output – GWh0201
Output from electricity generating plant in which SSE has an ownership interest (output based on SSE’s contractual share) across the UK and EIRE.   

In June SSE announced proposals to close the remaining operational capacity of 1,510MW at Fiddler’s Ferry, its last remaining coal-fired power station. SSE is now in consultation with employees and trade unions with a view to closing the station by 31 March 2020. If Fiddler’s Ferry is closed, SSE will cease being a generator of electricity from coal.

The UK Capacity Market continues to be suspended pending the outcome of the European Commission investigation into the legality of payments under state aid rules; but capacity agreement holders are expected to honour existing agreements and BEIS intends to make retrospective payments and levy penalties once a positive State Aid decision is received.

SSE ENERGY SERVICES

Executive Chair Katie Bickerstaffe and Interim Chief Financial Officer Gordon Boyd took up their new roles with SSE Energy Services on 23 June 2019. Their mandate is to deliver a new future for the business outside of the SSE Group and continue progress towards a listing or new ownership by the second half of calendar year 2020.

SSE Energy Services

   3 months to 30-Jun-20193 months to   30-Jun-2018
Electricity supplied household average (GB) – kWh767775
Gas supplied household average (GB) – therms7365
 As at 30 June 2019As at 31 March 2019
Total energy customer accounts (GB domestic) – m5.715.78
Total energy related services customer accounts (GB domestic) – m0.49 0.47
Total Smart meters on supply (GB)*>1,450,000>1,250,000
Including Airtricity and Business customer, the SSE Group had a total of 6.99m energy customers at 30 June 2019 compared to a total of 7.06m at 31 March 2019.   * June 19 smart meters on supply figure includes those gained via customer acquisitions.

NOTIFICATION OF CLOSE PERIOD

SSE will issue a further business update with its Notification of Close Period statement on Thursday 26 September 2019.

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