Retail operating profits at energy group #SSE have risen by nearly 40% to £456.8m after the firm hiked up prices for consumers. The huge rise in earnings followed an increase in household electricity and gas tariffs in November 2013. It also followed a period during which the number of SSE customers fell from 9.1 million to 8.58 million. And, the report said, the amount of electricity used by households had fallen by 3.7% and the amount of gas used by 5.8%. According to government data, the wholesale price of gas has fallen by 16.7% in the last year.