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There are dozens of energy suppliers in the UK, with companies entering and leaving the market. Some of the main suppliers are:
British Gas remains the largest energy provider in the UK, although it has been losing customers over recent years. It used to be the sole energy provider for the UK, until it was privatised in 1986.
The majority of online reviews and studies state that the range and price of tariffs, and the level of customer service, is pretty mediocre. To be fair, the firm has improved and widened its services in recent years, but customers’ experiences are still mixed. If you’re a traditionalist who doesn’t like to try out new companies, British Gas is the energy supplier for you.
Indeed, statistics suggest that a fair percentage of its customers have stayed loyal for an incredibly long time.
E.ON is the second largest energy provider operating in the UK in customer numbers after British Gas, and forms part of what used to be called the Big Six energy companies. The German company serves over 3.8 million British households.
In recent years, it has made big moves to become a greener supplier. In 2018, it acquired renewable energy company Innogy. In 2019, it became the first Big Six company to switch customers onto 100% renewable energy with a number of green tariffs.
It is rarely ranked among the best companies for price or customer service, but if you’re after a large energy provider which focuses on renewable energy, E.ON could be for you.
French-government-owned EDF Energy is another one of the former Big Six energy companies. It controls many of the UK’s nuclear power stations, and two-thirds of the electricity it supplies its customers comes from nuclear energy.
As is typically the case with larger “legacy” suppliers, it’s rarely listed among the best-value tariffs, nor praised for having the best customer service.
EDF prides itself in offering lengthy fixed-rate tariffs – some as long as 3 years – so it might be the provider for you if you’re worried about mid-contract price rises.
Scottish Power is based in Glasgow, but serves energy to customers all over the UK. It was founded in 1990 and grew to become a Big Six provider. Now owned by Spanish utilities giant Iberdrola, it’s the largest supplier of renewable energy generated by wind in the UK. In fact, its green energy tariffs are generated 100% from its UK wind farms.
Scottish Power isn’t well-known for fantastic prices or mind-blowing customer service, but it does offer fixed-rate contracts up to 2 years long.
OVO Energy has established a reputation as a strong green energy provider. The firm has grown steadily to become the third largest energy supplier in the UK, after British Gas and E.ON. In 2020, the Bristol-based supplier acquired the domestic energy division of former Big Six competitor SSE. As a result, OVO now supplies over 5 million households.
It was the first supplier to remove coal and nuclear from its energy mix, and has received plenty of plaudits for its “Plan Zero” initiative to create a zero-carbon future. If you want to do your bit for the environment while still paying a competitive rate for your energy, check OVO’s tariffs.
SSE is one of the Big Six UK energy suppliers. Formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, the company’s household energy supply division was bought by competitor OVO Energy in January 2020. The supplier still trades under the name SSE, but its customers will gradually have their supply moved over to OVO Energy as part of the deal.
SSE also plays a huge part in generating power through both traditional and renewable methods via its network of hydroelectric, wind, biomass, gas and oil plants.
Since launching in 2016, Octopus Energy has raised the bar for customer service in the energy sector. It offers 100% renewable energy, yet still manages to offer competitive prices among its energy tariffs. Octopus has been growing pretty quickly and now supplies over 2 million UK homes.
In recent years the supplier, which is backed by the UK financial services group of the same name, has grown through acquisitions and deals with firms like Co-op Energy and Engie. Its offering is relatively simple, providing a choice of supply deals including fixed, variable and “supergreen” tariffs, none of which charge exit fees. If you’re looking for competitive tariffs with strong green credentials, these guys are certainly worth a look.
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