Spark welcomes energy market probe

Spark Energy, the fast-growing small electricity and gas supplier, today welcomed Ofgem’s decision to refer the UK retail energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority.

Chris Gauld, Spark’s CEO, said: “This investigation will look at market share and how new entrants can compete, it will also consider the barriers to effective competition. It’s not before time and is much needed.

“There are now at least 15 smaller suppliers like us who are trying hard to compete and offer consumers an alternative, but in total we only have just over 5% market share, with the Big Six suppliers having the rest. That’s just not good enough.

“It’s important that the energy market tackles issues like requiring wholesale energy access on an equal basis, facilitating switching in 24 hours and producing regulation and policy that helps promote competition, not suppress it.

“The industry body Energy UK has said that around a quarter of a million customers are shopping around for a new deal every month, and they must be given the incentive to take advantage of competition by allowing small suppliers to be entrepreneurial and innovative, and to compete in a fair and equal marketplace.

“The fact is, as things stand, not enough consumers are switching. In our specialist area, the letting sector, only 23% of customers are switching suppliers. The regulator has to encourage people to switch by allowing smaller companies to be more appealing. Helping us will help the consumer.”

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