SSE-Npower merger gets watchdog clearance

SSE-Npower merger gets watchdog clearance

The proposed merger between two of Britain’s Big Six energy firms, Npower and SSE, has been given the all clear by the UK’s competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provided the final approval needed for the merger, that will create the country’s second largest energy provider, after concluding that consumers would continue to have “plenty of choice” with regards to standard variable tariffs (SVTs).

An inquiry was launched by the watchdog in May after its initial investigation found the merger could reduce competition, which could have led to high prices for households.

The deal was provisionally approved in August.

Anne Lambert, chairwoman of the inquiry group examining the deal, said: “With many energy companies out there, people switching away from expensive standard variable tariffs (SVT) will still have plenty of choice when they shop around after this merger.

“But we know that the energy market still isn’t working well for many people who don’t switch, so we looked carefully at how the merger would affect SVT prices.

“Following a thorough investigation and consultation, we are confident that SSE and Npower are not close rivals for these customers and so the deal will not change how they set SVT prices.”

The government new price cap on SVTs is due to take effect at the end of the year – which will help consumers save up to £100 on their annual bill. With more than two thirds of its customers on SVTs, SSE is heavily exposed by the cap.

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