Southern Electric – part of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)

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Though officially dissolved as a plc in 1998, Southern Electric is still one of the most recognisable utilities brands in the UK. Now a part of SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc), it operates across the UK and Ireland, supplying mainly gas and electricity – though it also provides some support for telecoms infrastructure too.

SSE was formed as a company following a merger between Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro-Electric – both businesses were set up in the wake of privatisation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since then the business has continued to grow, acquiring businesses such as SWALEC, Airtricity, and the Ferrybridge and Fiddlers Ferry power stations in recent years.

With head offices in Perth, Scotland, SSE is estimated to earn around £1.5 billion per year and is considered to be part of the Big Six that dominate the energy market in Britain (alongside British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower and Scottish Power). In addition to this, they’re also the second largest supplier of electricity and gas in the UK with an estimated 9.6 million customers.

Although they have been responsible for their own share of controversy – in May 2012, they were fined £1.25 million for illegal door-to-door sales practices – Southern Electric seem to be committed to developing more renewable energy sources, having recently announced plans of an £800 million hydroelectric plant.