You have likely heard of the ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers. They are often mentioned in news related to the domestic and commercial energy market in the UK.
Typically Big 6 energy suppliers dominate the market. They have between 75 and 90% of the overall customer base over the last decade. But we have seen some new names emerge into the Big Six.
Up until 2019, the Big 6 companies were British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power, Southern Energy (SSE) and Npower. These are the companies that hold supply licences in the UK. Having a few dominant companies has been a source of controversy. Complaints about price-fixing and monopolies have been all too common. It’s a problem successive governments have tried to address.
We created Business Electricity Prices to provide fairer prices for energy customers. Our mission is to help energy customers access the cheapest available deals.
However, things have been changing in the energy market recently. The energy sector has a reputation for being volatile. Prices go up and down – sometimes predictably and other times not. Equally, new players have been entering the energy market. And others have disappeared.
Is the Big 6 still the Big 6?
We checked with Ofgem to see the latest market share figures by energy company:
Quarter 2 of 2020
British Gas - 18.23% of the market;
OVO Energy - 15.34% of the market;
E.ON – 12.04% of the market;
EDF – 10.73% of the market
Scottish Power – 9.11% of the market
Small Suppliers – 6.96 % of the market
Npower – 6.8% of the market.
TOTAL – 72.25 % (excluding small suppliers)
You may notice that SSE doesn’t appear in this list. And there’s a name we haven’t mentioned – OVO Energy. That’s because OVO Energy bought SSE in January 2020. They are now the new name in the Big 6. However, the SSE brand is still being used by OVO.
Npower is now the smallest of the Big 6 according to the latest figures. But Npower was bought by E.ON in 2019. Existing Npower customers will slowly transfer over to E.ON in the coming months.
Bulb Energy is the fastest-growing of the more recent entrants to the energy market. They now have a 5.5% market share. Might they become the next member of the Big 6? Possibly. Ecotricity and Octopus Energy are two other independent business energy suppliers increasing their customer base. This seems to be due to their fixed-price deals and investment in renewable energy.
The good news here is that small, independent suppliers are becoming more popular. More choice means more competition. More competition means, hopefully, better prices for customers.
Should I switch to a smaller independent energy supplier?
At Business Electricity Prices, we have no bias towards any particular energy supplier. Our main goal is to save our customers as much money as possible. This may mean that we recommend a smaller independent energy supplier or a supplier from the Big 6 depending on current deals.
Cheap business energy suppliers vary depending on many factors. New deals emerge every day, so it is never possible to definitively say which provider has the best value. All energy suppliers make their best deals available to new customers.
However, we do recommend that all companies regularly compare energy prices. It is the only way to make sure you don’t overpay for the energy you use.
If you choose to switch with us, we will ask what your priorities are for your commercial energy contract. Many of the smaller energy suppliers have built a solid reputation for good customer service. If that is a priority for your business, that is worth considering.
Many smaller energy companies have stopped trading in recent years. But don’t let that put you off choosing an independent retailer. Even if your energy company was to go out of business, you will not be adversely impacted.
There are regulations in place to protect your energy supply if your energy company stops trading. You will be automatically switched to a new supplier. Plus, you can choose to change supplier.
Many businesses are concerned about the hassle of switching energy supplier. Switching with an energy broker like Business Electricity Prices makes the process straightforward. All you need to do is consider the quotes we provide. We take care of the switching process on your behalf.
You won’t require any new hardware and your energy supply will not be affected.