It’s a turbulent time for the UK energy sector – and households face uncertain times of rising prices and worrying news about suppliers going out of business.
In recent weeks, several energy companies have gone to the wall, leaving millions of customers dependent on the safety net provided by the markets regulator, Offgame. The latest three — Orbit Energy, Antis Energy and Bulb — closed business this week, bringing the total number of firms that closed from August 25 through August, and this year’s total to 28.
The regulator’s safety net maintains supply to domestic customers and protects their credit balances while Energy Sentinel moves their accounts to a new supplier.
For example, earlier this month, a group of energy providers took over customers of Bluegreen, Empower, Zebra Power, MA Energy, Omni Energy and CNG Energy. Replacement. You can see a full list of recent changes below.
New suppliers for Neon Reef and Social Energy Supply’s customers will be announced by Offgame, following a competitive bidding process, in the coming days. Until then, customers are guaranteed supplies, along with any credit balances they maintain with their old supplier – and are advised by the regulator not to switch. When they go to their newly appointed supplier they will pay no more than the current offgame energy price limit, which is set at £1,277 per year for average households.
The actual bill, as is always the case, will be determined by the amount of energy used. The price cap applies to the amount that the supplier can charge for each unit of gas and electricity used, and to the fixed charges levied on the account.
A recent crop of significant corporate failures have been attributed to a rise in wholesale prices, particularly for natural gas, which has seen prices rise by 250 percent since the start of the year. Suppliers say the presence of the range prevents them from passing the price increase on to customers.
The cap will be next reviewed in February and implemented in April. There are widespread fears that the typical consumption limit may be 1,600 pounds or more.
The table below shows failing energy companies going back to 2016 and the scale of the turmoil in recent months is staggering.
|Date||unsuccessful supplier||customers||getting a supplier|
|November 2021||Antis Energy Supply Limited||5,400||to be confirmed|
|November 2021||orbit energy||65,000||to be confirmed|
|November 2021||bulb||1,700,000||*in special administration*|
|November 2021||Neon Reef Limited||30,000||British Gas|
|November 2021||Social Energy Supply Ltd.||5,500||British Gas|
|November 2021||CNG Energy Limited||41,000||positive energy|
|November 2021||Omni Energy Limited||6,000||Utility|
|November 2021||MA Energy Limited||300||Smartest Energy Business Limited|
|November 2021||Zebra Power Limited||14,800||British Gas|
|November 2021||Empower UK Limited||2,000||You Energy|
|November 2021||BlueGreen Energy||5,900||British Gas|
|October 2021||goto energy||22,000||shell energy|
|October 2021||daligas||9,000||shell energy|
|October 2021||pure planet||235,000||shell energy|
|October 2021||Colorado Energy||15,000||shell energy|
|September 2021||symbio||50,000||EON NEXT|
|September 2021||igloo||180,000||EON NEXT|
|September 2021||anstroga||6,000||EON NEXT|
|September 2021||people’s energy||350,000||British Gas|
|September 2021||utility point||200,000||EDF|
|September 2021||PFP Energy||80,000||British Gas|
|September 2021||MoneyPlus Energy||9000||British Gas|
|August 2021||hub energy||15,000||next cycle|
|January 2021||simplicity energy||50,000||development of british gas|
|January 2021||Green Network Energy||367,500||EDF|
|December 2020||Yorkshire Energy||74,000||Scottish Power|
|October 2020||tonic energy||130,000||Scottish Power|
|September 2020||spontaneous energy||2,500||Octopus|
|December 2019||Sameer||18,000||British Gas|
|October 2019||Utili (Rutherford)||280||total gas and power|
|August 2019||Cardiff Energy Supply Ltd.||800||SSE|
|March 2019||Very good||17,000||SSE (currently SSE OVO)|
|January 2019||our power||32,000||Utility|
|January 2019||economy energy||237,000||This|
|December 2018||a selection||33,000||together energy|
|November 2018||spark energy||290,000||This|
|November 2018||excess energy||108,000||Scottish Power|
|October 2018||Usio Energy||7,255||first utility (shell currently)|
|July 2018||Iressa Energy||95,000||Octopus Energy|
|July 2018||UK National Gas||80||Hudson Energy|
|January 2018||future energy||10,000||Green Star Energy|
|November 2016||GB Energy||160,000||coop energy|
*Data provided by Citizens Advice and Offgame
Roughly the same number of customers are affected by the September 2021 shutdowns of energy companies as it did for the entire period from 2016 to 2020.
The recent closure is a testimony to the depth of the current crisis in the energy market. We will update the list, as expected, as further corporate casualties are announced.
Energy Price Cap Increase
Earlier this summer, Offgame announced that its price cap, which limits how much energy companies can charge their customers per unit of energy and related permanent fees, would increase from £139 to £1,277 from 1 October.
It is worth remembering that this figure is for a family with normal consumption values; Actual bills will always be determined by how much energy is used.
This limit applies to approximately 11 million households at the standard variable rate ‘default’ tariff. The cost of prepayment tariff is also limited. The figure also rose to £1,309 from £153 earlier this month and affects nearly four million households.
Other tariffs, notably fixed rate, fixed term deals, are not subject to the cap. Prior to September 2021, it was usually a matter of costs far below the cap level for fixed deals.
However, this is no longer the case due to the cost of bulk energy.
The 12% increase in the price cap on October 1 was aimed at allowing suppliers to pass on the increased cost of buying bulk fuel. But rising prices have meant that many suppliers are now making losses.
What happens when a supplier goes bust?
The impact of a firm’s closure is mitigated by the safety net of offgame, which maintains their energy supply without interruption, and without taking any action to the customers.
It arranges for the transfer of customers’ accounts to a new supplier, working with firms to honor customers’ credit balances and manage loan repayment.
Once the transfer is complete, each customer is free to relocate to the suppliers if they so desire. At present, however, they are unlikely to get a tariff cheaper than their designated supplier’s ‘deemed’ tariff, which is required to operate within the offgame price range.
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