UK-based green energy supplier Ecotricity recently celebrated passing the 100,000 customer mark, saying it had grown 40% in just one year.
And it's not alone.
The announcement comes, says Rankin, amid a growing debate over the "Big Six" energy producers and their virtual stranglehold over the market:
The political furore over energy prices has put small providers into the limelight like never before. Last year, Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, called for "a vast new army of disruptive new energy players" to turn a market dominated by the big six into the "big 60,000". The big six comprise Centrica, SSE, RWE npower, E.ON, Scottish Power and EDF.
With rival Ecotricity maintaining a price freeze to gouge customers from the incumbents, and with distributed solar power going decidedly mainstream in the UK, the major utilities would do well to rethink their market positioning right now.