ScottishPower’s profits anger consumers

Philip Bowman 
Glasgow, Scotland — (METERING.COM) — November 16, 2006 – U.K. utility ScottishPower, with 5.2 million customers, has announced record profits – up 77 per cent from the previous period – in the six months to 30 September 2006. The company says the results were boosted by its non-retail division and strong performance at its coal-fired power plants, but domestic customers are weighing these profits against the price hikes they have had to face in recent times.

ScottishPower chief executive Philip Bowman agrees that the increases in prices have been significant. “But the reality is over the last several years the wholesale price of gas has gone up 200 per cent, while our domestic tariffs have gone up 100 per cent.”

Electric and gas watchdog group energywatch spokesman Graham Kerr says: “The energy market is dominated by companies that, like ScottishPower, generate electricity and supply it to customers. We question whether this ‘vertical integration’ is good for competition and delivers affordable price for consumers. That is why we have called for a Competition Commission inquiry into the Great Britain energy markets.”

The utility has confirmed that it is in talks with Spanish energy company Iberdrola regarding a possible takeover.