06 July 2011
Energy Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP will hold a top level meeting with new energy suppliers tomorrow to find out what help they need to break the dominance of the Big Six gas and electricity companies, boost competition and keep energy prices for households down.
This follows hot on the heels of the announcement that red tape is to be slashed for small energy companies to help them break into the market.
The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP 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 for your business. We need more competition to keep bills down - it is madness that 99% of people get their energy from the Big Six.
“Over the next decade we need double our normal energy investment to replace old power stations and keep the lights on. Doing nothing isn’t an option - addiction to more foreign gas will put us at risk of oil and gas price shocks.
“The current market simply can’t deliver, so we need more companies and more competition to keep price rises as low as possible.
“By meeting directly with the up-and-coming small energy suppliers we can ensure they have a fairer shot at breaking the dominance of the Big Six. I’ve told my officials to knuckle down with Ofgem and make reforms so consumers can have more choice and better deals for their gas and electricity.”
Energy suppliers including Ecotricity, Co-op Energy, First Utility, Good Energy, Ovo Energy, and Utilita are expected to attend tomorrow’s meeting with Energy Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Energy Minister Charles Hendry, Ofgem Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan, and officials at the Department of Energy and Climate in Whitehall. The meeting will be an opportunity for them to set out what they regard as the barriers to entry and growth, offer suggested solutions, and to explore issues such as wholesale liquidity in the electricity market, the impact of government environmental and social programmes, and market complexity.
The summit comes days before the Government is due to publish its White Paper on electricity market reform, which will promote competition and set out the biggest shake-up of the electricity market in a generation to deliver the gigantic £110bn+ investment needed over the next ten years to upgrade the UK’s electricity system and keep the lights on.
Notes for editors
- On 13 June 2011 the government announced that smaller gas and electricity suppliers will benefit from a cut in red tape. Firms with 250,000 customers or fewer will not have to take part in two government programmes - the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target and the Community Energy Saving Programme. This follows a consultation which originally proposed a threshold of 100,000 customers
- The Government will shortly publish a White Paper on electricity market reform, following the consultation launched on 16 December 2010