2 Million UK Customers Search for New Energy Suppliers

MoneyIt’s a great time to be a small energy supplier in the United Kingdom!  Two million customers of the “big six” have fled to find lower energy prices with, what they probably call, ‘mum ‘n poppa’ shops.  So who are the big six?  To find out more, we turn to the BBC News:

British Gas: British Gas is the UK’s largest domestic energy supplier. It operates as Scottish Gas in Scotland. It has nearly 10 million domestic customers in the UK. It is part of the British-owned Centrica Group, a huge company also involved in gas and oil exploration and production.

Npower: Npower is part of the German power giant RWE, which is one of the five largest gas and electricity companies in Europe. It has about 3.5 million customers in the UK and is one of the major providers of energy used in the UK.

SSE: SSE was formed in 1998 after the merger of Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric. It later added Swalec to the stable. It also generates power, like the other major UK suppliers, and employs about 18,500 people in the UK.

Scottish Power: Scottish Power became part of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola in 2007 and is one of the largest UK energy suppliers. In 1995, Scottish Power bought Manweb – the Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board.

E. On: The UK arm is part of the German E. On Group, and was previously known as Powergen before taking the group’s name in the UK in 2007.

EDF: Its UK operations are a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Energy, which is a French state-owned energy company. It supplies about 5.5 million domestic and business customers in the UK.

Combined, these six organizations supply about 95% of the country’s power.  Customers have been dissatisfied with rising prices and have decided to look elsewhere.  To top it off, the big six are dealing with a Competition and Markets Authority to determine if enough competition exists within the market.

In the final quarter of 2013, a reported 1.3 million electricity customers and 866,000 gas customers switched from a big six supplier, to an independent supplier.

How exactly are they doing this?  Similar to the US, the UK became a deregulated energy market in 1996 in order to encourage competition.  Customers are allowed to shop around for a supplier that best fits their particular needs.  There are many factors that go into selecting the perfect supplier, but once a frontrunner has been established, customers enjoy the savings.

How do you think this situation will play out in the UK?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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