Gas and electricity Updated:
Npower has just announced it plans to sell 770,000 customer accounts to Telecom Plus, subject to approval by Telecom's shareholders and the Office of Fair Trading. The move will boost competition in the energy market by creating one of the biggest independent competitors to the major firms, and means Britain could potentially end up with a Big Seven rather than a Big Six.
Npower is set to receive £218 million from the sale if it goes through in January whilst Telecom Plus, which trades under the name Utility Warehouse, will see its client numbers more than double to an estimated 1.2 million (Npower will still have 4.6 million accounts).
Both gas and electricity accounts will be moved over, however customers with the affected Gas Plus and Electricity Plus accounts will see no change in service.
Npower boss Paul Massara has said the sales mean the UK is "well on its way to having a big seven rather than a big six", commenting: "In one move we have helped to create the biggest independent competitor in Britain's household energy supply market. This is good for competition and good for consumer choice."
It couldn't have come at a better time for those who are struggling with ever-increasing bills, as more competition will ideally lead to better value for money. Currently smaller firms make up just 3% of the market, but the tide could be turning – an estimated 150,000 customers have so far switched to smaller suppliers since October amid the spate of price rises, and having an independent competitor making its mark could lead to an even better consumer environment.
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