The Business Electric Market In The UK: Big Six And Smaller Energy Providers
Prior to reaching the market, energy suppliers involve themselves in three key elements: generating electricity, transporting electricity and gas, and offering the energy to the customer. While some energy companies can work on all these areas, some only work on a specific element.
Most of the gas and electricity providers in the United Kingdom belong to the private companies, ensuring that they will supply enough energy needed. Privatized companies also mean that each customer has the freedom to choose which company supply they prefer.
Energy Regulation Through Ofgem
The gas and electricity providers in the United Kingdom are governed by Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, which operates by the power of Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).
Ofgem is a self-governing National Regulatory Authority and non-ministerial government office that is recognized by EU Directives. Its primary role is to protect the existing and potential energy customers. It is done by:
- Supporting the supply and sustainability supply for the existing and future consumers, both household and industrial customers
- Assuring value for money
- Management and delivery of government systems
- Monitoring and improvement of the market and its competition
- Business Electric Market Competition
There are over 50 energy providers in the UK alone, however, the business market is dominated by the so-called “Big Six.” Despite the existence of the smaller, valid alternatives, the six biggest suppliers are still the top choice for many enterprises.
These companies provide national coverage and charges for almost every type of business, may it be small to large, sole traders to huge multinational companies.
The Big Six
The Big Six includes E.ON, EDF Energy, British Gas, Scottish Power, npower, and SSE and these are the largest energy providers in the UK. Their service covers over 50 million domestic and industrial users.
Although they dominate the business electric market, the six companies receive negative feedback from critics, questioning about its competitiveness in the energy market.
In 2013 and 2014, five out of the six huge companies announced price increase almost at the same time.
cartel. However, no evidence was found that would prove their wrongdoing, specifically their price fixing.
With the Big Six still dominating the market, the threat of uncompetitive rates and high energy expenses continues. This affects UK’s economy as it is built on being competitive that’s why every consumer is encouraged to switch energy suppliers frequently.
But despite the criticisms, more consumers still choose from one of the Big Six suppliers primarily because they are misinformed about switching to another carrier.
But then again, there are smaller energy suppliers that provide business gas and electricity. Their service is as valid and efficient as the Big Six which are often par or even cheaper. This is in contrast to what most consumers are thinking.
Some of the smaller and newest alternatives are Bulb, First Utility, Good Energy, LoC02, Robin Hood Energy, and Octopus Energy.
Switching To Another Supplier
Unlike what most people think, switching to another carrier is rather quick and easy. In fact, it just needs the consumer call the customer service department, ask for a quote, and find a contract.
There are times when the supplier will ask you to call your current supplier for notification or sometimes, they will do it on your part.
While there’s nothing wrong staying with Big Six, it’s also worthy to try other suppliers, even the smaller and new ones. Just remember to do a research first and ask the necessary questions you want to ask. After all, even smaller alternatives may offer the best rates, tariffs, bundles, and discounts.