Minister enters talks with small energy suppliers

6 July 2011

6 July 2011 | Adam Leach

Energy secretary Chris Huhne will meet small-scale energy suppliers this week in a bid to make the UK gas and electricity market more accessible to them.

Supplier talks will be held at Departmentof Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) offices tomorrow as part of the minister’s plan to boost competition in the energy market and lower bills for consumers.

Representatives from Ovo Energy, First Utility, Ecotricity, Co-Op Energy and Good Energy have been invited to attend.

While there is no formal agenda for the summit, Huhne will be looking to learn from the “up and coming companies” about what barriers are holding them back from entering the market.

The UK market is dominated by Britain’s ‘big six,’ namely: E.ON, Centrica, RWE npower, ScottishPower, EDF Group and Scottish and Southern Energy.

Huhne said: “Our energy market has been too cosy for too long. I’m calling a summit of independent energy suppliers so the small guys have an equal chance to bid. We need more competition to keep bills down – it is madness that 99 per cent of people get their energy from the big six.”

The summit follows the move by DECC to cut back on the amount of red tape for small suppliers. Last month, the department raised the threshold that requires companies to sign up to the CERT & Community Energy Saving Programme from 50,000 customers to 250,000 customers.

  • Next month energy watchdog Ofgem plans to appoint accountants to scrutinise the financial accounts of the big six UK energy suppliers. They will assess whether the financial accounts, submitted annually by the firms to Ofgem, are transparent enough. It follows a trend of the big six to cite rising wholesale price pressures as a reason for increasing gas and electricity bills. 
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