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Npower is set to be swallowed up by Eon, as part of the wider asset swap between parent companies RWE and Innogy. However, the EU Commission is yet to give its approval to the deal, and if a decision is not reached before 31 October then domestic competition approval may be needed.
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What does Ovo's potential takeover of SSE mean for the big six and does it signal a new era of consolidation in the energy retail market? Adam John talks to experts including former Npower boss, Paul Massara.
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Latest in Gas retail

Moves towards automatically switching disengaged energy customers to cheaper deals represent an "almost ideological shift” in the government’s attitude, an industry expert has said. Speaking to Utility Week Adam Bell, head of policy at management consultancy Stonehaven and former head of energy strategy at BEIS, said the government’s approach was both radical and conservative.
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Gas imports reached a record quarterly high in the first three months of 2021 following a fall in gross production, the latest government figures have revealed. The figures have been published in the latest BEIS energy trends report.
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A ban on gas boilers is neither a “necessary or even desirable” policy and government should instead introduce a subsidy for heat pumps, an energy retailer has suggested. Clementine Cowton, Octopus Energy’s director of external affairs, was speaking following national media reports that the government was considering pushing back the ban on new gas boilers.
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Hydrogen will be blended onto a public gas network for the first time in the next phase of the green £22.5 million HyDeploy project. Part of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC), HyDeploy is being delivered by a consortium including Northern Gas Networks, Cadent, Progressive Energy, Keele University, HSE – Science Division and ITM Power.
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Eon UK chief executive Michael Lewis has urged the government to bring forward the ban on gas boiler sales to 2030 as “the best way to give industry the signal to start investing today”. Conversely, he said rumours of the ban being extended beyond a previously mooted date of 2035 would “simply delay the benefits of the transition to net zero”.
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Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has begun testing how existing networks cope under 100 per cent hydrogen as part of the H21 project. MicroGrid is a gas distribution test grid which NGN claims is the first of its kind. It has been purpose-built by DNV and located at the latter’s test and research facility at Spadeadam, Cumbria.
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Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley has issued a warning to customers to prepare for likely major increases to the price cap as a result of rising wholesale costs. Writing ahead of the announcement Brearley warned consumers that while nothing has yet been finalised the cap could rise by as much as £150.
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More than 13 million smart meters are now connected to the Data Communications Company’s (DCC) network, the latest figures show. The latest milestone in the smart meter rollout was reached when Octopus Energy installed an electric smart meter in Morecambe in Lancashire.
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The government's approach to the energy retail sector in its new strategy have been branded “disappointing” by the sector’s trade body. Energy UK said the multiple proposals presented a confused picture and that the blueprint overall was "looking to address a problem of the past, not looking to the future". Bulb also criticised the approach but consumer bodies welcomed the extension of the price cap.
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Plans have been unveiled by the government detailing how it intends to test automatic switching arrangements for disengaged customers, as well as for extending the price cap. The energy retail strategy confirms that BEIS intends to incrementally introduce opt-in switching, while also trialling an opt-out scheme. Meanwhile, legislation will be introduced to allow for future extensions of the cap beyond 2023.
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Krishnan Kasiviswanathan, chief operating officer at Innowatts, explains why suppliers need the capability to leverage half-hourly smart meter data and discusses the lessons that can be taken from US states such as California and Texas.
Opinion
A combination of Covid-19 and the recent industrial action from British Gas engineers cost Centrica an estimated £87 million, as well as a reduction in customers in the first half of this year. The process to update employee contracts as part of its major restructure announced last summer has been described as “challenging” by the British Gas owner. Elsewhere, the company updates on customer losses for its retail arm and services business.
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