The French group began its assault in spring 1996 when the first domestic competition trials began in the South-west. Total also formed a joint venture company with London Electricity to sell gas in the later trial in the South-east.
Industry sources said Total had now wound down its operation in the South- west. Rival suppliers said they had been approached by Peter Nichols, managing director of Total Gas Marketing and by local sales agents. But a spokesman for Total Gas Marketing insisted the speculation was "totally untrue". But he added: "I wouldn't deny we're putting our energies into the South-east."
Separately, it emerged yesterday that ScottishPower is to raise its domestic gas prices by between 4 and 9 per cent.Reuse content