Big Six behaviour is understandable says academic

The Big Six’s dominance in the UK electricity market is completely understandable, but it is the market conditions created for them that should face the flak instead. These were the […]

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By Tom Gibson

The Big Six’s dominance in the UK electricity market is completely understandable, but it is the market conditions created for them that should face the flak instead. These were the words of Professor Dieter Helm.

Professor Helm was critical of the market model that had created what many in industry accept as the stranglehold on the electricity market. The Big Six companies buy and sell their energy and it is the upstream generation arms which the professor thinks makes it harder for new entrants to establish themselves in the UK energy market.

Speaking on Radio 4 yesterday, the Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University said: “They’re trying to look after their customers with their own energy generation. It’s not in their interest to use other providers. It’s not their fault, it’s simply what vertical integration does.

“It is absolutely critical in trying to work out what to do with this problem to recognise that the Big Six are behaving entirely rationally and that they’re doing exactly what’d think they’d do if you’d designed a market like this.”