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Who are the ‘big six’ and are they right for your business?

The ‘Big Six’ is a phrase which has frequently featured in headlines of late, but which companies make up this mysterious group? The Big Six are the six largest energy providers in Britain. It is made up of British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Between them, they supply over 50 million British homes and businesses with gas and electricity. The group profited from the privatisation of the energy industry in 1990 and have since come to dominate the energy market. In 2013 they had a collective market share of 98%. More recently, a new breed of smaller suppliers are playing David to the six Goliath’s. In many cases they are teasing customers away from the larger suppliers with cheaper prices and a more customer-focussed service. A report by Citigroup investment bank estimated that the collective market share held by the big six could tumble to below 70% by 2020. This is welcome news for energy customers who stand to benefit from the injection of competition into the energy market. The big six have repeatedly come under scrutiny from regulators for its pricing policies. This year, they were criticised for refusing to lower energy prices despite falling wholesale gas prices. Previously, they were investigated after winter 2013-14 when five of the six firms announced price rises within weeks of each other - although no evidence of wrong-doing was ever found.

Smaller suppliers can deliver a big service

Lots of energy users are reluctant to switch to smaller suppliers because they fear a smaller provider might go out of business, or that they won’t enjoy the same level of customer service with a smaller company. However, the energy watchdog Ofgem has recently criticised the big six for the number of complaints they received in 2014. Many customers are stuck paying an unfair price for their energy because they do not hunt around for a better deal. If you think that you are paying too much for your energy, or are receiving a poor service from your provider, then it might be time to switch suppliers. At Utility Helpline we work with small and large providers to try and secure the best deal for our customers. For more information contact us [http://www.utilityhelpline.co.uk/contact/]

Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )