On Wednesday the regulator unveiled a new set of indicators with which it will monitor trends in the retail energy markets.

The interactive indicators, part of Ofgem's efforts to boost transparency for consumers and stakeholders, provide very useful insights about trends in prices and profits, energy switching and market structure. Of particular interest to us were Ofgem's charts documenting quarterly supply market shares back to 2005. The charts emphasise the progress that has been made by the independent suppliers over the past few years and the steady erosion of the market shares of the Big Six in the domestic market. The indicators also show that, by June, there were 31 active suppliers in the domestic market, an increase of seven in the past year alone.

The indicators are accompanied by an annual report that provides more detail on market trends and their drivers. For example it notes the continuing importance to the Big Six of home area sales, and provides some interesting discussion of switching patterns over the past few years--in particular by considering the breakdown between internal and external transfers. The report also shows the continued success of the non-Big Six suppliers in the business market; by volume the five suppliers with the largest market share for large business users entered after liberalisation.

Ofgem has published a further report, along with key indicators, on the wholesale side, and has also provided an update on its efforts to improve liquidity through the secure and promote intervention.