Well, we may have called it first, but the BBC has finally latched onto the fact that the Big Six energy suppliers are losing their grip on the gas and electricity sector. As any regular readers here at the Love Energy Savings News Centre will already be well aware, the likes of npower and British Gas are losing customers to some of the smaller, independent suppliers and there are now statistics to show just how many.
At the end of the last decade, the large suppliers well and truly controlled the market and had 99.8% of the UK’s gas and electricity customers. Today, they have just 92.4% which is obviously still pretty substantial, but more and more customers are realising the benefits of the less recognised names every single day. A jump from a market share of 0.2% to 7.6% in just five years is not something that can be ignored and the likes of First Utility, Good Energy and Opus Energy will no doubt be looking to build on this success.
More Customers Switching to Independents...
More attractive pricing, flexible tariffs and green energy deals have all been helping these independent energy firms to get more of a foothold in the market. In addition to this, the Ofgem/CMA probe into the Big Six has resulted in the uncovering of bad customers service and mis-selling by the more recognised names in the energy sector, and will no doubt have spurred many domestic and commercial energy customers to take their custom elsewhere.
First Utility is the largest independent and it is surely no coincidence that their customer service, in contrast to the Big Six, is second to none. This energy supplier has grown ten-fold since 2011 and announced today via BBC News that they have just acquired their millionth energy customer. The next biggest of the smaller energy firms is Utility Warehouse, who currently have 835,000 active energy accounts.
CMA Investigation Underway...
Should these trends continue, it could reduce pressure to reform the “broken” energy market. Recent probes had cast doubts over the health of competition and the profits of the Big Six, but this news suggests that the market place is perhaps fairer than first thought. The CMA will be continuing its investigation in earnest, in order to establish this beyond any reasonable doubt. Consumer bodies will still be fighting for reform, in a bid to battle the stranglehold that the Big Six energy suppliers have on the industry.
Indeed, there are actually more energy firms entering the marketplace than ever before, the total has almost trebled since 2010 and there are more than a dozen vying for gas and electricity contracts in the UK.
Q3 of 2014 shows that there are now 3.8 million energy customers in the UK using energy providers from outside of the Big Six, leaving 45.9 million with British Gas, EDF et al. This is according to research undertaken by Cornwall Energy, an independent research group for the sector.
Energy Market Report Due in 2015...
With the CMA report due at the end of 2015, this developments has added some extra spice to what has become one of the most significant parts of the political agenda in the UK. This, coupled with the fracking debacle which is set to develop very quickly over the coming months, is making energy very much at the forefront of the public eye. As always, Love Energy Savings will be keeping a close eye on the rise of the smaller energy firms and you will be able to find all the updates you need in the News Centre.