SSE H1 profit falls 12 percent on retail business loss

LONDON Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:19am EST

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LONDON Nov 13 (Reuters) - British energy supplier SSE , one of Britain's big six utilities under fire from politicians for hiking bills, said first-half profit fell 12 percent after the part of its business which supplies households slumped to a loss.

The issue of rising energy bills has dominated the political agenda in Britain for two months with the government and the opposition Labour party competing over how to get tough on utilities after this winter's average 8 percent price rises.

SSE said in October it was raising household gas and electricity bills by over 8.2 percent, or three times the rate of inflation to help counter an expected loss in its retail business, the unit which supplies households.

The Scotland-based company said on Wednesday that its retail business slumped to an 89.4 million pounds ($142.39 million) operating loss in the six months to Sept. 30, hit by higher wholesale energy prices and rising distribution and environmental and social costs.

Adjusted pretax profit at the group level came in at 354 million pounds, 12 percent lower than in the year-earlier period.

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