SSE/Npower merger receives final clearance from competition watchdog

The proposed merger between SSE Retail (SSE) and Npower has been approved from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following a thorough review.

The UK’s competition watchdog said it had given final clearance to the deal after concluding households would still have “plenty of choice” on standard variable tariffs (SVTs).

The decision comes after a provisional clearance from the inquiry group of independent CMA panel members, who investigated how the merger would affect householders. The group specifically examined competition concerns around how the deal would impact ‘standard variable tariff’ prices.

Following a period of consultation, the CMA has decided to clear the merger after finding that SSE and Npower are not close rivals for customers on these tariffs.

Anne Lambert, chair of the inquiry group examining the deal, said: “With many energy companies out there, people switching away from expensive standard variable tariffs 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.”

Perth-based SSE welcomed the CMA’s decision.

Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “This is a complex transaction and there is still much work to do in the coming weeks and months.

“However, we’ve always believed that the creation of a new, independent energy and services retailer has potential to deliver real benefits for customers and the market as a whole and it is good to see that the CMA has cleared the transaction following what was a comprehensive and rigorous inquiry.”