Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker calls for a 'Big 60,000'

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A leading government official has proclaimed there should be a 'Big 60,000' group of energy suppliers, rather than the current 'Big Six'.

Energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, believes it is vital for the industry to shake up the current domination of the market by providing an "explosion of choice" for energy consumers.

The current UK energy market is dominated by SSE, British Gas, E.On, npower, EDF and Scottish Power, and have almost a 90% share of the market. While other firms such as First Utility offer an independent alternative to the 'Big Six', Mr Barker is eager for even more suppliers to be able to provide competition to the established dominant group of energy suppliers.

Mr Barker made the comments after he chaired a meeting in New York - aimed at meeting institutional investors and discussing funding on a variety of low-carbon energy projects.

He said: "I want to unleash a completely new model of competition and enterprise. I want to encourage a vast new army of disruptive new energy players to challenge the 'Big Six'.

"From individual consumers to community groups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and FTSE giants, I want them all to consider generating their own energy at real scale, as well as starting to sell their excess energy on a commercial basis.

"A decentralised power to the people energy revolution – not just a few exemplars but tens of thousands of them. The 'Big Six' need to become the Big 60,000."

Many of the existing UK energy suppliers are part of the government's Green Deal initiative. Under the scheme, energy consumers can request some help from their energy supplier in financing new energy improving measures to their home including new boilers and wall and loft insulation.

The customer then pays back the loan via their energy bills at a rate equivalent to the money the measures will save them.

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