The Big Six Energy Companies
When looking for an energy supplier you’ll often hear people refer to ‘The Big Six’ and that’s because there are six main suppliers for energy in the UK. These companies are responsible for providing over 90% of Britain’s energy needs and are the biggest and oldest energy suppliers in the country.
Although there’s been huge growth in independent suppliers during the last decade the sector is still mostly dominated by those powerful six companies who supply energy for millions of homes. With the businesses being so huge, you’d think they’d be pretty easy to track down but with so many departments it can be difficult. But worry not, all consumers with questions can easily gain access to their contact number or energy telephone number here, use our call-forwarding service to reach their team of experts without any hassle. If you have a complaint, question, want a new tariff or have a problem with your current service then there’s specific numbers for each query, so simply find the number you need below and get hold of the team who specialise in that area. The big six should not be confused with the big six media companies.
So firstly, who are the big six energy suppliers?
- British Gas: It comes as no surprise that British Energy Company is actually the largest supplier in the UK. They provide 11 million homes with gas and over 5 million with electricity. They are a subsidiary for Centric Group who own Scottish Gas as well.
- EDF Energy: Owned by a French provider this company is one of the big six and is one of the main producers in the UK.
- E.ON: You have most likely seen the EON adverts on your television and that’s because this company is a huge part of the energy industry, providing over 7 million homes with energy. They were formerly known as Powergen.
- Npower: It was purchased by German investors back in 2002 and is still one of the main providers in Britain, serving millions of homes with their cost-efficient energy.
- Scottish Power: Although ownership has changed hands in the last decade they are still responsible for over five million homes.
- SSE: With ties to both London and Scotland, this Scottish business is the second biggest energy supplier, offering 9 million homes their energy, which includes hydro, and winder produced energy.
What is An Energy Supplier?
First of all, defining a supplier is somewhat different to what the bigger groups do, with people like wholesaler groups who provide energy and then the big 6 energy companies distribute nationwide. Between them these six companies supply around 50 million homes with energy.
How Did the Big Six Develop?
The 1990’s saw a spread of privatisation in some industries and the electricity and gas market are some of them, this led to the big companies becoming the main corporates of energy supplying. British Gas was formed back in 1997, under Centrica, it then formed into different mergers in the early 2000s and similar happened elsewhere with E.ON being a result of Powergen.
Finding a Tariff with the Big Six
Finding the right tariff for your energy supply is important but before getting started you need to know what type of agreements are available. The industry is full of plentiful options that cater for different households, big, small or medium. So find one that best suits you and your family with fixed, variable, capped, pre-payment, green energy and more.
We list below some of the tariffs, their purpose and what they actually are, but bear in mind that these tariffs can vary depending on the supplier, always check the terms and conditions:
- The Variable Tariff- A variable tariff can change depending on what it costs the company to produce the electricity. That’s why, the price of oil can change how much you pay for your energy, but if sourcing materials becomes expensive then you have no protection on this tariff.
- The Fixed Tariff- The name tells you most of what you need to know, the fixed tariff maintains a cost per unit. You will be paying a little bit more when source materials are low to what you’d be paying on a variable tariff, but that’s the price of security. This option is usually fixed term keeping you in a contract for at least a year, so ensure that this is what you want before signing.
- Capped Tariffs- Those unsure on whether to sign-up for a fixed or variable contract can go somewhere in-between with capped tariffs. You pay less when it costs less for the supplier to source materials but you will pay a higher base rate throughout.
- Pre-Payment Tariffs- Some customers prefer to monitor how much is being spent and use a pre-pay system, this enables you to go to a local shop or post office put money onto a card then enter that into your energy meter. It will then switch your energy on and you can see how much you use on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.
- Green Energy Tariffs- If you are conscious of the environment then you can opt for green energy companies, this means using renewable energy as your source with wind turbine energy or solar powered. It could also mean that you use energy from a company that gives back to a green energy scheme.
Switching Energy Company
Before switching clarify exit costs with your company and ensure that no additional costs are present. A common misconception is that it’s difficult to switch energy companies, many people seem to think that pipes and other physical changes will be required. This is often untrue and it’s usually pretty simple, if you are looking to switch energy company then phone your current supplier via their customer service number or find the specific department here. This way you can find out more information about cancelling your current contract or phone another energy company about a new policy. When looking to move energy supplier you will need your postcode and for the most accurate results you will need your recent bills at hand. It takes just minutes and can be done with ease and you can find the contact number without stress.
How to Contact the Big Six Energy Companies
Getting in contact with the your current energy company isn’t quite as simple as it should be, well at least it wasn’t until we decided to help consumers get hold of their provider and also call a particular department. You don’t have to wait around to be put through to the correct personnel via their switchboard just simply find the telephone number you need for you energy company and give them a call. There are also options to write to e-mail your provider, if it’s not your company, then you can also enquire at various suppliers to get a quote or find out more information.
Here we help you find some details on the big six and how best to get in touch with contact numbers and e-mail addresses.
|Energy Company||Contact Number|
|British Gas||0843 903 3137|
|EDF Energy||0843 903 3145|
|E.ON||0843 903 3154|
|NPower||0843 903 2113|
|Scottish Power||0843 903 2114|
|SSE||0843 903 2112|
If you wish to remain updated or do a bit more digging through these firms then check out their social media. They keep their pages updated and you could find out some useful details with new savings, discounts, changes to the business and even customer services all listed.
- British Gas- Find information on a Merlin Annual pass, get prizes and also chat to their team via Twitter or Facebook.
- EDF Energy- Join over 23k that have ‘liked’ this Facebook page for advice on their bills, ways to save money and much more. Also Tweet them on Twitter with any questions.
- E.ON- They’ve got a 100% response rate on their Facebook, although it doesn’t beat calling their helpline it’s something to bear in mind, plus you can enjoy their regular updates.
- nPower- Sign-up to their newsletter via their page and also receive videos, updates and e-mails for the latest.
- Scottish Power- The Scottish Power Facebook page has attracted over 19k people and often keeps you updated on the latest events and more.
- SSE- Last but not least you have the chance to enjoy all that SSE have to offer, check out this page with almost 70,000 people following. You will hear about ways to save money on energy, ways to switch plus more interesting news.
The best way to get hold of the company that you need is to scroll through our website and use the call-forwarding services that we provide. The big six companies should be easy to get hold of and generally are, but then you can sit on the phone all day before being put through to many different specialists. The easiest and most efficient way to speak to a team at either British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, nPower, Scottish Power or SSE is to find the department’s phone number and get hold of the particular team responsible for you issue.
Why Do the Big 6 Energy Suppliers get Criticised?
The big six are highly documented in the mainstream news and this is often because of rising prices and customers feeling hard done by because of the constant changes in price. This is the same reason that so many independent energy suppliers have emerged in the last decade and started to gain customers, despite the small percentage of the market they reach it is far more than in previous years.
One of the growing concerns was that with so much of the market being dictated by just six companies, it could have a negative impact there’s even been some claims that the companies have fixed their prices, although this has been unproven.
Prices seem to be coming down and with the rise of new companies and how easy it is to switch energy it seems as though the bigger companies have changed some of the tariffs and made it fair for new and existing customers.
Making a Complaint
If you’re wondering how you can make a complaint to your energy supplier then you should firstly start by addressing them via telephone or post. Although you may wish to take it further and contact other authorities due to any issues you may be having you should firstly ensure that contact has been made with your company. If it’s a general complaint then it is likely that their specialist members will easily resolve it, if you are to call then use the complaints number. If you are still having no luck then get in contact with them via e-mail or letter so you have it all in writing. Always use the complaint number that you were giving from your previous dealing, as this makes it easier for them to follow the situation up and can read through the background of the case before attempting to rectify any issues.
If you are still having issues then it could be worth getting in touch with the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, this charity acts by giving you advice. If that fails, then you will be advised to reach out to the energy ombudsman who can deal with energy bills, sales activity, problems with switching gas or electricity company, tariffs and more.
We have left a summary of these actions, so if you are looking to make a complaint then follow these steps:
- Telephone your supplier via the complaints telephone number
- If it’s not resolved on the phones use your complaints reference number and then write or e-mail the company
- If you aren’t answered or still have an then call Citizens Advice
- If your problem isn’t rectified eight weeks later then get in touch with energy ombudsman
If you are trying to get hold of any of the six big companies then you can easily get in contact via the complaint numbers that we have listed, meaning you will be straight through to the appropriate helpdesk.