Energy Minister Charles Hendry has today announced that smaller gas and electricity suppliers will benefit from a change in Government regulation from next year.

According to the latest announcement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), companies with 250,000 customers or fewer will no longer have to take part in the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

The decision follows a consultation which originally proposed a threshold of 100,000 customers.

Until now, firms with as few as 50,000 customers have been obliged to participate in the two Government initiatives.

“Currently, over 99% of people get their energy from just six big companies. Reducing red tape for smaller suppliers will help them grow and encourage new players into the market. Increased competition can help bring down prices and encourage innovation, benefitting energy consumers,” explained Hendry.

“It’s vital that we improve energy efficiency without placing disproportionate costs on small suppliers. We have listened to small suppliers, studied the evidence and gone further than our initial proposals, to give competition a bigger boost.”

The CERT and CESP schemes will run until the end of 2012.