SSE and Npower in talks to create new energy supplier

Scottish Power tells ministers to back free markets or'fully regulate energy

The new independent company would combine SSE's household energy and services unit with Innogy's household and business energy unit.

SSE said on Tuesday the talks were about merging its household energy supply and services business with Innogy's United Kingdom supply business npower, sending SSE shares more than 3 percent higher and Innogy's up 1.6 percent.

As the cap is aimed at standard variable tariffs and default tariffs, it is expected to threaten the profits of some of the larger suppliers.

SSE, which is now Britain's second largest energy supplier, said: "The discussions between SSE and Innogy are continuing and are well advanced but no final decisions have been taken".

Energy giant SSE is in talks with the German owners of rival Npower over plans to merge their gas and electricity businesses in Britain.

SSE, formerly known a Scottish and Southern Energy, serves 7.8 million households while npower has 4.8 million.

They have also come under pressure from smaller rivals who have been taking customers and market share. SSE said this was "in line with its stated commitment to embrace change in each of its businesses, adapting them to the political, economic, social and technological requirements of customers and of society as a whole".

It flagged that any such combination proposal would be subject to the regulatory approvals, and approval of the transaction by SSE plc shareholders.

For the retail gas market, SSE has an 11 percent market share and npower 8 percent, with Centrica on 33 percent.

Innogy booked a half-year loss for Npower in August as it grappled with what it called "fierce competition and political pressure".

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