The UK’s energy retail market is, slowly but surely, changing beyond recognition. Ever since the market was privatised in 1990, it has been dominated by a select handful of companies whose combined share of the market has at times topped 99%.

Now, nearly 30 years later, that status is changing and their footing is being eroded by an influx of independent operators with a stated aim of giving power back to the people. Increasingly, they are turning to solar and storage to do that.

The heavy hitters of the UK retail market, dubbed The Big Six, are British Gas (parent: Centrica), E.On, EDF Energy, npower (parent: innogy/RWE), ScottishPower (parent: Iberdrola) and SSE. Although historically they have enjoyed an oligopoly over UK homes, a government-backed drive to encourage switching, political uproar over increasing bills and heightened consumer engagement with their energy supply is turning the market on its head.

Tanjent's PowerBanx X battery storage, in pale grey enclosure (Image: Tanjent)

Tanjent’s PowerBanx X battery storage, in pale grey enclosure (Image: Tanjent)

Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, charts the market share of all suppliers over a certain threshold and its dataset for Q3 2018 places the collective Big Six market share at 75%, indicating the sheer level at which consumers have started to vote with their feet.

Solar and storage systems, so adept at handing power back to the people, are causing a shift in market share towards independent suppliers.

Read more: Current News