Which UK energy suppliers have gone bust?

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These are turbulent times for the UK’s energy sector, not to mention the millions of households they’re licensed to serve.

In recent weeks, several energy companies have gone to the wall, leaving almost two million customers dependent on the safety net provided by the market regulator, Ofgem. The latest, Daligas - with 9,000 domestic and commercial gas-only customers - ceased trading today. Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, went bust yesterday (13 October).

This regulatory backstop is in place to do two things. It maintains supplies to domestic customers, and it protects their credit balances while the energy watchdog moves beleaguered accounts to a new supplier.

Replacement suppliers

Last month, for example, Octopus Energy took over the accounts of 600,000 customers who had previously been with the now defunct supplier, Avro Energy. Meanwhile, British Gas added 350,000 new bill payers from People’s Energy which had also gone to the wall.

Such significant corporate failures are blamed on rising wholesale prices, particularly for natural gas, which has risen in price by 250% since the beginning of the year.

The table below reveals failed energy companies going back to 2016 and the scale of the upheaval in recent months is staggering.

Date

Failed supplier

Customers

Acquiring supplier

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

E.ON Next

September 2021

Igloo

180,000

E.ON Next

September 2021

Enstroga

6,000

E.ON Next

September 2021

Avro

600,000

Octopus

September 2021

Green

350,000

Shell

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

Eon Next

January 2021

Simplicity Energy

50,000

British Gas Evolve

January 2021

Green Network Energy

367,500

EDF

December 2020

Yorkshire Energy

74,000

Scottish Power

October 2020

Tonik Energy

130,000

Scottish Power

September 2020

Effortless Energy

2,500

Octopus

March 2020

Gnergy

9,000

Bulb

December 2019

Breeze

18,000

British Gas

October 2019

Toto

134,000

EDF

October 2019

Uttily (Rutherford)

280

Total gas and power

September 2019

Eversmart

29,000

Utilita

August 2019

Solarplicity

8,000

EDF

August 2019

Cardiff Energy Supply Ltd

800

SSE

March 2019

Brilliant

17,000

SSE (currently SSE OVO)

January 2019

Our Power

32,000

Utilita

January 2019

Economy Energy

237,000

OVO

December 2018

One Select

33,000

Together Energy

November 2018

Spark Energy

290,000

OVO

November 2018

Extra Energy

108,000

Scottish Power

October 2018

Usio Energy

7,255

First Utility (currently Shell)

July 2018

Iresa 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

Roughly the same number of customers have been affected by energy companies going bust in September 2021 as had been for the entire period from 2016 to 2020.

The recent spate of closures is evidence of the depth of the current crisis in the energy market. We’ll update the list if, as expected, further corporate casualties are announced.

Energy price cap rise

Earlier this summer, Ofgem announced that its price cap, which limits how much energy firms can charge their customers per unit of energy and associated standing charges, would rise by £139 to £1,277 from 1 October.

It’s worth remembering that this is the figure for a household with typical consumption values; actual bills will always be determined by how much energy is used.

The cap applies to approximately 11 million households on standard variable rate ‘default’ tariffs. The cost of prepayment tariffs is also capped. This figure also rose, by £153 to £1,309, at the start of this month and affects around four million households.

Other tariffs, notably fixed rate, fixed term deals, are not subject to the cap. Prior to September 2021, it was commonly the case for fixed deals to cost significantly less than the level of the cap.

This is no longer the case, however, because of the cost of wholesale energy.

The 12% increase in the price caps on 1 October was intended to allow suppliers to pass on the increased cost of buying bulk fuels. But escalating price rises since the caps were set mean many suppliers are now effectively operating at a loss.

What happens when a supplier goes bust?

The impact of a firm going bust is minimised by Ofgem’s safety net, which maintains their energy supply without interruption, and without customers having to take any action.

It arranges the transfer of customers’ accounts to a new supplier, working with the firms to honour customer credit balances and manage debt repayments.

Once the transfer is complete, each customer is free to move suppliers again if they wish. At present, however, they are unlikely to find a cheaper tariff than their nominated supplier’s ‘deemed’ tariff, which is required to operate within the Ofgem price cap.

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