The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) –  a lobbying group representing the rights of SMEs and the self-employed – has called for the ‘Big Six’ energy companies to be broken up.

The FSB, which represents 200,000 small firms, has joined forces with consumer group, Which, to demand a full-scale inquiry into competition in the industry.

The ‘Big Six’ firms – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power and SSE – are currently under investigation by Ofgem and the Office for Fair Trade for making excessive consumer profits.

Their report is expected to recommend referring the energy companies to a full investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.

John Allan, chairman of the FSB, said:

“Every minute small business owners spend away from running their business costs them, so many owners aren’t in a position to spend time to find the best deal from their energy supplier.

“As part of major reforms we want to see in the energy market, the big six should publish their tariffs for small business customers in a clear and transparent way.”

The Big Six are campaigning against a referral, saying that the focus on energy prices is politically motivated.

A spokesperson for Centrica, who own British Gas, said:

“We believe the energy market in Britain is intensely competitive and works in the interest of consumers and the country, with energy prices among the lowest in Europe.”

Photo by James Watts