The Big Six Explained
Within the UK, there are 6 large companies who dominate the energy market; they supply around 95% of all household energy but who are they? They’re household names that everyone recognises, but are also known as ”the big six”. The control they have over the market leaves only a tiny portion to be served by the remaining 12 suppliers.
As the UK’s largest supplier, British Gas is the most recognisable UK name with nearly 10 million customers. Part of the British-owned Centrica Group, a huge company also involved in gas and oil exploration and production employing 33,000 people. Profits were £571m for domestic supply in 2013.
Npower is part of the German power giant RWE; one of the five largest energy companies in Europe. Providing energy to 3.5 million customers in the UK they are one of the major providers of energy used in the UK. Profits were £134m for domestic supply in 2013. Last year RWE decided against building any new nuclear power plants in the UK.
SSE was formed in 1998 after the merger of Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric, later adding Swalec to the stable. Generating power and supplying, like the other major UK suppliers. Profits were £318m for domestic supply 2012-13. They employ about 18,500 people in the UK and recently vowed to keep variable tariffs frozen at current price levels until 2016.
In 2007 Scottish Power became part of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. They’re one of the largest UK energy suppliers with profits of £128.5m for domestic supply in 2012.
German company E.On also own the UK company E.On who used to be known as Powergen, but switched to E.On UK in 2007.
12,000 people employed in the UK and 79,000 worldwide, generating and supplying energy including wave power. Like RWE, they recently ruled out building a new nuclear plant in the UK.With profits of £296m for domestic supply in 2013.
As a French state-owned energy company, their UK operations are an owned accessory of EDF Energy, supplying around 5.5 million domestic and business customers in the UK. EDF runs eight nuclear power stations in the UK. Profits were at a £92m loss for domestic supply in 2012.
Although these Big Six monopolize the market, there are 12 other suppliers in the UK! Use our price comparison calculator to see if you could be using a new provider and saving money!
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