More than one hundred thousand consumers each month are abandoning the Big Six energy companies for one of around 40 smaller suppliers which have launched in the last five years.

And as the UK Government works on an energy price cap which has divided opinion over whether it would actually be universally effective, it must also ensure that these challengers to the likes of SSE and Scottish Power are given sufficient support to establish sustainable market share.

Increased competition can only be welcomed in an industry where six companies still control 80 per cent of the market.

Spark Energy, which has amassed 400,000 customer accounts, is one such challenger and its plan to create 160 new jobs in Selkirk is to be welcomed.

Smaller companies offering niche services could be a vehicle to rebuild trust in an industry which many consumers have come to view as a necessary evil in their monthly outgoings.

That the government has had to step in to put a level of control on prices encapsulates how faith in the industry has dwindled. And it is becoming clearer than ever that meaningful change is required to ensure the energy industry is open, fair and competitive.

To restore that faith there must be an assurance that each and every consumer pays a fair price to heat and light their homes. Healthy competition is key to that.