Energy news : What are ‘The Big Six’ doing now?

The major players in the energy sector, ‘The Big Six’ are responsible for supplying the majority of the UK’s energy. Whilst there are actually more than twenty different suppliers in the UK it is these six which dominate the market and effectively control the price we pay for these vital services.
Who are ‘The Big Six’
The main players in our energy sector, ‘The Big Six’ consist of the following energy providers: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Electric (SSE). Of these six, British Gas is the largest energy provider for the UK market, providing 11 million homes with gas and 6 million with electricity. Scottish and Southern Electric is the second largest, supplying 8 million customers with energy.
Past news : Price increases and energy summits
Over the past few years ‘The Big Six’ have been involved in numerous news reports – with energy prices a recurrent subject. Over the past few years the cost of electricity and gas has risen sharply, leaving many consumers to face difficult conditions. Many were urged to compare electricity prices to combat this, using smaller providers to achieve a better deal.
Addressing the difficult situation surrounding energy consumption and prices, the Government held an energy summit with ‘The Big Six’ at the tail-end of 2011. Yet, before the end of the year this had already been labelled a “wasted opportunity” in The Independent.
Politicians were accused of not putting enough pressure on the major suppliers, effectively giving them free reign. Whilst no major changes were imposed on the suppliers’ charges, ‘The Big Six’ did agree to inform 8 million households that they could save money if they chose to pay by direct debit.
Recent news : Protests and investigations
As Brits continue to struggle with everyday costs, ‘The Big Six’ have remained at the forefront of our headlines. Minor price decreases at the beginning of the year proved to be a double-edged sword as many consumers rejected what they saw as a pitiful goodwill gesture.
In addition to this, consumer body Which? has recently launched an investigation into sales practices used by the suppliers. According to their findings, consumers were misled over the potential savings offered by costly tariffs, with the estimated figures differing greatly from the actual results.
This has led many consumers to see the previous reductions in gas prices as a smokescreen – disguising the true intentions of these suppliers. Protests against the prices have become more common and there are numerous campaigns running against the dominance of these firms.
For those interested in cheap electricity, the news is even worse. Whilst gas may have benefited from a small decrease at the dawn of the New Year, electricity prices have remained the same after increasing by an average of 14% last year.

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