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Who are the small energy suppliers challenging the Big Six?

Victoria Arrington
Nov 23, 2017

We all know the 'Big Six', but there are loads of energy suppliers on the market, so who are the smaller companies changing the game?

Currently there are 60 energy suppliers on the UK market, meaning there are a lot of smaller providers who have something to offer.


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Some of these small suppliers have made themselves particularly noticeable, as they have gone above and beyond to create new innovations, fresh ideas, attractive business models, and best of all – outstanding deals.

But before we jump into who they are, let’s look at the difference between small suppliers and the 'Big Six'.


The David vs Goliath of energy

The Big Six: These are the six largest energy suppliers in the UK, which serve the vast majority of the market (around 80% as of this writing; a decade ago, it was about 99%). 

This includes British Gas, SSE, Npower, E.on, EDF, and Scottish Power. However, this group will soon become a 'Big Five' with Npower and SSE poised to merge

Small Suppliers: Brands that have come forward with new innovations and/or changes that may help them win market share over more traditional models.

One of the most famous examples is the taxi app Uber, a challenger brand which fought traditional taxis worldwide.

So, now that we know the match up, what small suppliers are out there challenging the 'Big Six'? And what makes them stand out against the competition?


Meet the Challengers


Pure Planet Energy

What makes them different?

Pure Planet was launched as the UK’s first digital only supplier.

Additionally, users always pay wholesale prices for their energy, with no middleman mark up. On top of that, they supply 100% renewable energy.

But how do they make money then? They charge a monthly membership fee of £10 per fuel, which includes the standing charge.

Their services are run through an app, and they even have an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called WattBot to answer customer questions.

Compare Pure Planet prices 



What makes them different?

A supplier that makes less, so you can save more.

Based in Brick Lane, Bulb makes energy look as cool as can be. But there is more below their stylish surface. They are “the #1 energy supplier on Trustpilot”, and boast “100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas.”

They also claim to do whatever it takes to keep costs low – even if it means less profits.

“We use cutting-edge tech that keeps our costs low …and honestly we just make lower profits than our competitors. Then pass the savings onto you.”

They only offer a single tariff for gas and electricity, which they strive to keep the lowest on the market. They also don’t charge exit fees.

Read our Bulb Review.

Compare Bulb Prices


Bristol Energy

What makes them different?

An energy supplier that gives back to local communities.

Bristol Energy is owned by Bristol City council (but serves homes around the UK). The profits from the supplier are reinvested into local communities.

On top of that, they offer 100% green energy, along with “Simple, straightforward tariffs with no hidden extras.”

Read our Bristol Energy Review

Compare Bristol Energy Prices


Toto Energy

What makes them different?

Works with local co-ops to deliver cheaper energy.

Brighton-based Toto says that they buy gas and electric at wholesale cost, and pass on savings to consumers. They also say that they “work with local cooperatives to bring you cheaper energy.”

They too operate online only, without paper billing.

Read our Toto Energy Review

Compare Toto Energy Prices


Is there a small supplier for you?

There are great offers from small suppliers in the energy market for those who seek them out. But if you still prefer something from a household name “Big Six” supplier, you can find great deals there too. 

With more and more innovation coming from the big players and small start-ups in the fight for customers, exciting change could be just around the corner for those who switch & save.


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Are you paying too much for your energy bills?

We compare prices from the Big 6 and many other energy suppliers, getting you the very best price.