The energy watchdog is considering launching a “customer lifeboat” amid rising concern about the potential collapse of a welter of new electricity and gas suppliers. The industry has been overrun with challengers to the “big six” energy giants. Since December 2014 the number of household suppliers has risen from 26 to 44, equivalent to one new company joining the market every month. The big six have seen their market share fall from 99% to 83% since 2012. The rise of new competitors has been welcomed by politicians and campaigners but has caused alarm at the regulator, Ofgem. It is worried that a “gratuitous failure” could damage confidence in the industry and leave customers out of pocket. Ofgem last month launched a consultation on how best to deal with supplier insolvency. The watchdog is understood to be particularly concerned about companies that take payment up front. Most suppliers bill their customers after energy is used.
Sunday Times 10th July 2016 read more »