'Big Six' to become 'Big Seven' after major npower deal

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The UK's 'Big Six' energy suppliers is set to become the 'Big Seven' after a major deal involving one of the firms.

Npower has confirmed a deal to offload as many as 770,000 customers accounts. These customers are part of the energy supplier's Electricity Plus and Gas Plus subsidiaries and were sold for a reported £218m to Telecom Plus - a supplier of energy and telephony services operating under the name Utility Warehouse.

Discussing the deal, npower chief executive, Paul Massara, said: "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. Today's announcement shows that Britain is well on the way to having a 'Big Seven' rather than a 'Big Six'."

The sale of the Electricity Plus and Gas Plus subsidiaries is the result of energy regulator Ofgem pushing through new regulations forcing energy suppliers to limit the number of tariffs available to their customers to four. Utility Warehouse actually already runs the brands on npower's behalf, so there will be little change as the firms continue to offer tariffs under their individual brands.

Customers under the two tariffs do not have to worry over contracts and customer service, as this will remain the same despite the switch - which is unlikely to happen until early next year, reportedly by January 2014.

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