Big six energy giants set to avoid break up

Billy Bambrough
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British Gas Controversially Increases Its Energy Prices
The CMA’s investigation has been going on since 2014, and was triggered by a referral from Ofgem (Source: Getty)

The six biggest energy companies in the country will avoid being broken up this week.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to publish the findings of its two-year investigation in to the industry on Friday.

The report is expected demand suppliers create a database of so-called disengaged customers, who have been on a standard tariff for three or more years. The big six suppliers – British Gas, SSE, Npower, Scottish Power, Eon and EDF Energy – now control around 85 per cent of the market, down from over 99 per cent in 2012.

In March the report’s preliminary conclusions proposed making customer details available to rival suppliers on a database operated by industry regulator Ofgem.

Read more: One in six energy customers now signed up with independent suppliers

At the time Richard Lloyd, executive director at consumer group Which, said: “The regulator must make sure that releasing customer data to rival suppliers is done so that it genuinely helps people switch from the most expensive tariffs to better deals.”

The CMA’s investigation has been going on since 2014, and was triggered by a referral from Ofgem. According to the CMA consumers are in total over-paying on energy bills to the tune of £1.7bn a year.

In recent months the number of customers switching away from the big six to independent suppliers has accelerated, research out earlier this month showed.

Read more: Oil and gas firms are struggling as the industry braces for fresh job cuts

Over one in six (17.4 per cent) dual-fuel households – that get both their gas and electricity from the same supplier – are now with an independent provider, from one in eight a year ago, according to Cornwall Energy.

The number of dual-fuel customers now signed up to independent energy providers has grown by an average of nine per cent every quarter over the last year.

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