Britain’s big six energy suppliers are facing a threat to their dominance after Engie, the French conglomerate, announced its arrival by undercutting their prices. The company, which is one third owned by the state, is the strongest entrant in the market for years. It has quietly started advertising a range of tariffs on price comparison websites before a formal launch expected in the spring. In an indication of its intent Engie’s cheapest deal – a fixed-price tariff until June 2018 – is cheaper than any currently offered by the big six at £932 a year, according to analysis by Moneysupermarket. A few thousand customers are understood to have signed up so far in what a source described as a “soft launch”. About 50 suppliers are selling gas and electricity to UK households, compared with 24 three years ago. Many are tiny operations with just a handful of staff and there are concerns about their financial health after GB Energy Supply went bust in November. However, the six biggest suppliers – British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF, Npower and Eon – still control about 85 per cent of the market. Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez, operates its energy and services businesses in 70 countries and is valued at 27 billion euros, putting it in a different league to most of the other new entrants. It already serves 17,000 industrial and commercial sites in the UK, placing it among the ten biggest business energy suppliers.
Times 13th Feb 2017 read more »