Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers are on the cusp of becoming five after the competition watchdog gave the green light to the merger of SSE and Npower. The Competition and Markets Authority has proposed approving the deal unconditionally after concluding that earlier fears that it would raise energy bills were unwarranted. The companies were “not close rivals” for customers on expensive standard tariffs and their merger was therefore unlikely to push up prices, it said. However, Alan Whitehead, the shadow energy minister, said that the decision was “concerning” and that job losses at the two companies must be avoided at all costs. SSE and Npower are respectively Britain’s third and sixth largest household energy suppliers and together supply gas and electricity to more than seven million homes. SSE is part of the FTSE 100 energy group of the same name, which also operates power plants and energy networks. Npower is owned by the German company Innogy.
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