Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Big Six On The Run

How renewables are disrupting big energy firms everywhere


The biggest story you’ve never been told An energy revolution is underway across the globe,and the old order is running scared. Big energy firms, once the greatest beneficiaries of liberalised electricity markets, are suddenly seeing their profit margins slump, their very futures imperilled. The traditional privatised utility model that has reigned supreme for twenty-five years is being rapidly undermined. The effects are being felt most
strongly in Germany and the US – but increasingly Britain’s Big Six energy firms are also under threat.
In short, the Big Six are on the run. What’s causing them to take fright is the disruptive power of renewable energy – particularly small-scale renewables owned by lots of people. The reasons for this are actually quite simple, but seldom explained.
The first reason is that the Big Six are facing a growing army of competitors. When the utilities were first privatised in the 1980s, they portrayed themselves as the face of a new popular capitalism.The famous ‘Tell Sid’ adverts of the Thatcher years caught the mood as thousands of people bought up shares in the new energy companies. But as the electricity market developed the number of shareholders and firms dwindled and ossified into the small oligopoly of suppliers that exist today.