‘Big Six blamed for dysfunctional energy market’

A charity focused on the role of finance in improving society has blamed the Big Six suppliers for creating a dysfunctional energy market. Friends Provident Foundation claims they have too […]

Register now!

By Jonny Bairstow

A charity focused on the role of finance in improving society has blamed the Big Six suppliers for creating a dysfunctional energy market.

Friends Provident Foundation claims they have too much influence on UK energy policy, are hindering the clean energy transition and posing significant investor risk.

The group commissioned InfluenceMap to use its methodology for scoring organisations and companies using Freedom of Information requests, social media, corporate websites, press releases and other information.

This information is used to provide a number of metrics, from which the organisation then bases its analysis.

It claims its results show the sector’s largest companies are able to control important regulations though their relationships with Ofgem and BEIS, resist taking up disruptive technologies and slow moving away from traditional business models.

The report suggests this is achieved through a systematic process of influencing the public narrative on the electricity sector and influencing senior policy makers.

Forum for the Future says examples of this behaviour include supporting reductions of subsidies to small-scale renewable projects, opposing the phase-out of coal generation and pushing through electricity code changes that severely reduce benefits paid to generators of distributed energy.

The report also says a gap between the public image of these companies and their actual behaviour is decreasing transparency and increasing risks for investors.

Colin Baines, Investment Engagement Manager at Friends Provident Foundation said: “There is emerging consensus that the energy market is facing unprecedented disruption due to the trend towards decarbonised, decentralised and increasingly democratised energy and that this is now being driven as much by economics, technology and innovation as it is by government policy.”