Who Are The Big 6 Energy Companies?
You will often hear us talk about the Big 6 energy companies at Love Energy Savings, and you will most likely hear the term thrown around in the press too.
These six suppliers are leading the energy industry, supplying around 95% of the UK’s gas and electricity between them.
Who are they, why are they the Big 6 and what have they recently done for their customers? Love Energy Savings can lend you their insight on who exactly these companies are – then from here you can make an informed decision when choosing your new business energy supplier.
The information below includes a brief summary of each organisation, as well as some information about what they have been up to lately. You should remember that the Big 6 is in no way an official term, simply a way of grouping the bigger firms together. Also, they are not necessarily better than the independent energy firms (many of which can often deliver better value for the customer).
As the UK’s largest energy supplier, British Gas need little introduction. Offering domestic and commercial energy, British Gas operates as Scottish Gas in Scotland and currently employ more than 30,000 people.
British Gas are owned by The Centrica Group, who continue to fund gas and oil exploration ventures in the UK, Europe and North America, all with vast success.
The company recently introduced a one-day weekend deal for all customers with smart meters, meaning that you pay nothing between the hours of 9am and 5pm on Saturday or Sunday.
The deal is said to have been inspired by British Gas’ aim to give customers more control over how they use energy. The offer is set to commence from March 2018.
British Gas’ profits for 2015 were £574m.
Who’s in charge?
Mark Hodges is leading British Gas as Managing Director after being appointed in June 2015, whilst Richard Haythornthwaite heads up Centrica after becoming Chairman in January 2014.
E.ON comes from the Greek term aeon, which translates as eternity; a name to inspire confidence if ever there was one. The company came onto the energy scene back in 2000, born from the merging of two of Germany’s largest industrial groups, VEBA and VIAG.
As well as employing 12,000 staff in the UK, E.ON also employ 79,000 worldwide. Their reach extends so far that, in 2007 the company took over former energy providers Powergen.
In 2015, a little over 56,000 employees from across Europe, North America and Russia would help generate sales of around EUR 116 billion. The company also recently cemented partnerships with businesses based in Brazil and Turkey.
E.ON’s profits (EBITDA) in 2015 was £267 million.
Who’s in charge:
The CEO of E.ON UK is Tony Cocker, who spent 11 years on E.ON UK’s board before his appointment. He also has a degree in Mathematics from Oxford University. E.ON is led by CEO and Chairman Johannes Teyssen, who at one stage pursued a doctorate degree at Boston University before returning to Germany.
npower has become one of the UK’s most recognised energy brands, and is part of the colossal German group RWE. Having been featured in a few high-profile sports ads over the years, they’ve quickly become a household name in the energy industry.
The firm has around 5.1 million domestic and business energy customers in the UK.
The company has recently been reaccredited with the Community Mark – the UK’s national award for recognising excellence in community investment – which will last the company until 2018.
Npower made a £106 million loss in 2015, according to BBC reports.
Who’s in charge?
Paul Coffey is the CEO of npower, having spent 11 years with the company. It took him just two years with npower before being appointed Chief Executive Officer.
SSE (otherwise known as Scottish and Southern Energy Plc) burst onto the energy scene around 16 years ago when Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric merged, later incorporating Swalec (South Wales Electricity Board). On their own, this partnership has become a fairly big name in the industry, generating their own energy and employing around 20,000 employees.
Of all the suppliers in the Big 6, SSE are particularly renowned for being supporters of renewable energy. They are the second biggest supplier of natural gas and electricity in the UK, and are also the UK’s largest officially-accredited Living Wage employer. Their employees are all guaranteed to earn at least £7.85 an hour.
Along with other members of the Big 6 who saw significant losses, SSE lost around 50,000 gas and electricity customers as smaller, independent suppliers continue to gradually wrestle away some of the leading companies’ market share.
In March 2016, SSE reported an operating profit of 785.4 million.
Who’s in charge?
Alistair Phillips-Davies, who was appointed in July 2013 to replace Ian Marchant. He previously worked in corporate finance and business development before joining Southern Electric in 1997.
Scottish Power acquired the Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board (MANWEB) back in 1995, making strides in the ever-competitive industry. After 12 years of building Scottish Power, Spanish energy giants Iberdrola invited the company to be part of their group, making Scottish Power one of the biggest energy suppliers in the UK. Like SSE, Scottish Power are great supporters of renewable energy.
They are also proud supporters of Cancer Research UK, having raised around £9m for the charity since starting a relationship back in 2012.
The company very recently introduced a brand-new communication portal for both partners and customers, the Scottish Power Commercial Energy Portal. After researching the market, Scottish Power officials saw that there was a need to keep track of sales within the company.
Who’s in charge?
As CEO of Iberdrola, Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan heads up Scottish Power, among other outfits worldwide. In the UK, Keith Anderson is in charge as Chief Corporate Officer.
The final player in Love Energy Savings’ guide to the Big 6 is EDF. This supplier is based in France and now provides gas and electricity to around 5 million customers in the UK. EDF are big investors in nuclear energy, having acquired UK nuclear generators British Energy back in 2009.
The firm has eight nuclear power stations in the UK. EDF firmly believe in low-carbon electricity, energy production and nuclear investment, generating around a fifth of the UK’s electrical energy.
EDF recently acquired a majority stake in Chinese product developer UPC Asia Wind Management (AWM), meaning the firm can accelerate low-carbon generation by balancing nuclear energy with renewable sources.
Who’s in charge?
Heading up EDF is Chief Executive Vincent de Rivas, an engineer by trade who joined the Engineering division in 1977 before climbing the ranks to Chief Executive.