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Britain's Ovo takes on customers after Economy Energy folds

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Ovo Energy said on Friday it had taken over the customers of independent power supplier Economy Energy, which ceased trading this week.

Economy Energy became the ninth supplier to stop trading in the past year, after an attempt to increase competitiveness prompted the launch of dozens of independent traders in Britain.

Ovo said it now had 1.5 million retail customers in Britain after taking over Economy Energy’s 235,000 clients as well as the 290,000 customers of Spark Energy, another small company that stopped operations last year.

The recent closures prompted energy regulator Ofgem to propose rules requiring providers to show they had financial resilience and ability to serve customers.

There around 60 small independent energy suppliers in Britain who have managed to win some 30 percent market share from the six dominant companies. Ovo had a 3 percent market share for energy supply, the latest data from Ofgem shows.

The “big six” energy suppliers are Centrica’s <CNA.L> British Gas, Innogy’s <IGY.DE> Npower and Iberdrola’s <IBE.MC> Scottish Power, SSE <SSE.L>, EDF <EDF.PA> and E.ON <EONGn.DE>.

(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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