An inquiry group of independent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) panel members has investigated how the merger would affect householders, following initial concerns about the potential impact on ‘standard variable tariffs’ (SVTs) – the most common and expensive energy tariff.
As part of its in-depth review, the inquiry group has provisionally decided to clear the deal after finding that SSE and Npower do not compete closely on SVT prices.
Anne Lambert, Chair of the Inquiry Group, said “It is vital that householders have a range of energy suppliers to choose from so they can find the best deal for them. With more than 70 energy companies out there, we have found that there is plenty of choice when people shop around. But many people don’t shop around for their energy. So, we carefully scrutinized this deal, in particular how it would impact people who pay the more expensive standard variable prices. Our analysis shows that the merger will not impact how SSE and Npower set their SVT prices because they are not close rivals for these customers.”
As part of its assessment, the CMA examined evidence from the six large energy suppliers; smaller suppliers; customer groups; and regulators. This included hearings with consumer groups and suppliers in Scotland where SSE has a large share of consumers. None of these raised substantive concerns about the effects of the merger on householders.