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Big Six in the UK - statistics & facts

The Big Six is the nickname given to the group of largest energy suppliers in the United Kingdom: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE. With the acquisition of Npower by E.ON in November 2019, the Big Six has since effectively become a Big Five. Another major change to the group’s structure was the acquisition of SSE’s distribution segment by OVO Energy, which in turn became one of the Big Six in 2020. An increase in the competitiveness of the UK’s energy market has also seen the traditional Big Six’s combined domestic supply market share drop below 70 percent in the first half of 2021, down from roughly 100 percent a decade earlier.

Profits by segment

Energy generation accounts for the largest aggregate profits of large suppliers in the UK. In 2020, the segment generated profits of 1.25 billion British pounds, slightly up from the previous year. SSE recorded the highest energy generation profits among the Big Six, at over 600 million pounds, while British Gas and E.ON recorded the lowest profits.

Meanwhile, profits from both the domestic and non-domestic supply segments have waned in recent years, with losses adding up to roughly half a million pounds in 2020. In the domestic sector, British Gas was the only large supplier to record profits that year. In contrast, in the non-domestic energy supplier segment, SSE stood as the only profitable utility.

Customer complaints

The number of complaints received by major energy suppliers has notably decreased since 2013. EDF Energy saw one of the most prominent declines in the period, from roughly eight thousand complaints received per 100,000 customers in the first quarter of 2013 to 1,400 complaints in the fourth quarter of 2021. In that latter quarter, E.ON was the member of the Big Five with the lowest number of complaints. While OVO recorded the largest rate of complaints in the period, it also had the highest share of complaints resolved by the end of the next working day.

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