NPOWER has been given the green light to merge its retail operations with rival energy supplier Scottish Southern Electric

The Swindon-based energy provider, based in Windmill Hill Business Park, will merge with the second largest energy firm SSE after the Competition and Market Authority found consumers still had plenty of choice and it would not push up prices.

The move will reduce the 'big six' energy companies available to consumers to the five.

The CMA had launched a full inquiry into the merger in May after its initial probe found the tie-up could reduce competition, potentially leading to higher prices for households.

Anne Lambert, chairwoman of the inquiry group at the CMA, said: “With more than 70 energy companies out there, we have found that there is plenty of choice when people shop around.

“But many people don’t shop around for their energy. So, we carefully scrutinised this deal, in particular how it would impact people who pay the more expensive standard variable prices.

“Our analysis shows that the merger will not impact how SSE and Npower set their SVT prices because they are not close rivals for these customers.”

Under the proposed deal, the new company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange with SSE shareholders holding 65.6 per cent and Npower owner Innogy holding 34.4 per cent.

SSE is Britain’s second biggest energy supplier and the merged group will serve around 11.5 million customers.

Npower, owned by German utility company Innogy, reported losing 155,000 domestic customers during 2017, dropping from 4.56 million UK customer accounts at the end of 2017, down from 4.71 million a year earlier.

Large energy suppliers have been losing market share as smaller rivals have lured customers away with cheaper deals.