Gas prices are on the rise and it’s time to research and consult broker sites, like www.utilitybidder.co.uk, for the best gas deals once more. There are lots of suppliers in the UK, more than 60 of them, and they all have varying prices so it’s a bit troublesome to check them all out. Some businesses hire broker sites to do the bidding for them, while other business owners prefer to do business with the suppliers directly.
For those who prefer to do business in person, the sheer number of companies to meet seems tiring. But instead of troubling yourself with who to meet first, it might be a good idea to meet the Big 6 companies first before the minor players.
The Big 6
Who are the Big 6? The Big 6 refers to the UK’s six leading companies when it comes to the utility industry. These are the six biggest energy suppliers in the UK holding up to 80% of the market share for both gas and electricity in the UK. They previously held 100% of the market share until 2004, when smaller suppliers started appearing. They are:
- British Gas. British Gas tops the list when it comes to energy suppliers in the UK. Offering a number of home and business products and services, they serve at least 12 million homes in the UK, dominating the market. It was founded in 1997, but the company’s history goes way back to 1812 to its predecessor, the Gas Light and Coke Company.
- EDF Energy. Founded in 2002, the EDF Energy company is an energy supply company that’s also part of the Big 6. Serving around 5.7 million homes and employing more than 13,300 people, EDF provides gas, electricity, and nuclear energy for the UK, with their headquarters located in London.
- E.ON UK. Formerly known as Powergen, this company was founded in 1989 and became a subsidiary of E.ON in July of 2002. Not only do they serve gas and electricity, they also serve solar energy services, providing panels, battery storage, and solar calculators. They also provide home insulation and electric vehicle charging services.
- Npower. Npower Limited is another energy supply company based in England, UK. Founded in 2000 as Innogy plc, it was bought by RWE and was renamed RWE npower plc. In 2016, the renewable energy division was split off from RWE npower to Innogy SE. The company employs around 11,500 people.
- Scottish Power Ltd. Founded in 1990 and employing around 9,900 employees, Scottish Power has its headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland. Spain’s Iberdrola took over the company in 2007 after Scottish Power’s failed attempt to takeover E.ON. Way before that, in 2000, it was able to acquire PacifiCorp, now PPM Energy, which is operating in the USA.
- Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Scottish and Southern Energy plc (or SSE plc) was founded in 1998, with their HQ in Perth, Scotland. They employ over 21,000 people and is one of the bigger companies in the Big 6. They provide not only energy supply services, but also telecommunication to the UK and Ireland.
Combined, the Big 6 provide much of the energy used in the UK for any type of purpose, with varying sources. Most energy broker sites have rated these six as ‘high’ and are most likely the first choice for many business owners.
But why do so many people use alternatives?
Over the past years, the Big 6 have dominated the market, they have been accused of employing cartel-like strategies and have all raised their prices which left some British customers unable to pay for any of their services. It is because of this that the market has grown for many smaller energy providers. Despite this, the Big 6 still have a major presence in the market.