A French government-backed company is planning to launch a new retail energy business in Britain, in a move that would mean that it competes directly with EDF Energy and other members of the Big Six. Engie, the newly rebranded company formed from GDF Suez, the energy conglomerate one third owned by the French state, is in talks with a string of British local authorities about the initiative, which could be announced this year. Engie, which employs 20,000 people in the UK and is the country’s top independent electricity generator with 5,000 megawatts of gas, coal and hydro power stations, is a leading supplier of energy to business and wholesale customers. Wilfrid Petrie, the new chief executive of Engie, said he wanted to expand the group’s focus on B2B to include services aimed at domestic households. “We think the time is right for a more integrated offering ,” he said. “Today we don’t have a supply business – a gas and power business – for B2C, but we will review that. Maybe we should – we are looking at different options.” Mr Petrie said that the new business would be unlike existing competitors in the British energy market as it would be offered to consumers through joint ventures with local councils in big urban areas such as London, Birmingham, Southampton and Coventry. As well as gas and electricity, Engie would provide consumers with bundled energy services, which could include district heating from a centralised location, or piped hot and cold water for heating and cooling, as well as insulation, energy-efficiency products and small-scale generation in the form of solar panels or wind turbines.
Times 2nd Jan 2016 read more »