Belfast Telegraph

ScottishPower owner reveals 76% slump in UK generation and supply earnings

The owner of energy giant ScottishPower has revealed that UK generation and supply earnings have sunk by 76% after losing around 100,000 customers in the first half of the year.

ScottishPower saw customer numbers drop to 5.3 million in the first six months of 2017, down from 5.4 million over the same period last year.

Spanish parent Iberdrola said the UK supply unit had also been hit by milder weather conditions and the closure of the Longannet power station in Fife, Scotland.

It said domestic power sales were down by about 7% and domestic gas sales dropped by around 8%.

It caused earnings in UK supply generation and supply unit hit £48.8 million for the period, down from £205.9 million for the first half of 2016.

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower's chief corporate officer, said: "In Retail, we have seen fierce competition in the UK and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.

"Even with this backdrop, our customer numbers are stable and we have still retained more of our customers over the last five years than any other large supplier."

Iberdrola's group revenues for the half year rose 1.8% to 15.2 billion euro (£13.5 billion), while gross margin increased by 1.1% to 6.9 billion euro (£6.1 billion).

Net profit climbed 4.2% over the period to 1.5 billion euro (£1.3 billion).

ScottishPower Renewables, the Big Six provider's green energy operation, bolstered onshore wind production by 43.8% to 1,701 GWh for the half year thanks to better wind conditions.

Mr Anderson added: "Investment continues at pace in major infrastructure.

"We are nearing the completion of a £650 million programme to deliver eight new onshore windfarms and we are starting full construction of the £2.5 billion East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm.

"As part of our 2016 to 2020 business plan, ScottishPower is overseeing around £4 million of investment every day."

Mr Anderson hit out in April over Government plans for a price cap on gas and electricity bills, warning it could harm competition.

He said the Government should instead make the ''bold move'' to scrap standard variable tariffs (SVTs) and only use price caps as punishment for firms that fail to move customers on to better value fixed deals.

While the Conservatives promised a wider price cap that would benefit 17 million customers before the general election, the policy did not appear in the Queen's speech following Theresa May's failure to win a majority.

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