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Energy suppliers going bust: what to do

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Soaring gas prices have led to many energy suppliers going bust over the past few years. This has been most noticeable since the pandemic.

But what does it mean for you if your energy supplier is no longer in business? Don't worry - there are plans in place to maintain your energy supply.

A hand flicking off a light switch with a dark curtain in the background

Energy suppliers have been slowly going bust for the last 2-3 years. But this has ramped up over the last 12 months, beginning in the summer of 2021 amid surging natural gas prices.

Given the regulator Ofgem's price cap to protect consumers, many energy suppliers weren't able to pass on sudden sharp increases in wholesale gas prices fast enough to remain in business.

It means a significant number of energy suppliers have already gone bust:

Bust suplier New supplier Took over
Bulb
Octopus Energy
October 2022
UK Energy Incubator Hub
Octopus Energy
July 2022
Together Energy
British Gas
January 2022
Zog Energy
EDF
December 2021
Orbit Energy
Scottish Power
November 2021
Entice Energy
Scottish Power
November 2021
Social Energy
British Gas
November 2021
Neon Energy
British Gas
November 2021
CNG Energy Ltd
Pozitive Energy
November 2021
Ampower
Yü Energy
November 2021
Zebra Power
British Gas
November 2021
MA Energy
SmartestEnergy Business
November 2021
Omni Energy
Utilita
November 2021
Bluegreen Energy
British Gas
November 2021
GoTo Energy
Shell
October 2021
Daligas
Shell
October 2021
Colorado Energy
Shell
October 2021
Pure Planet
Shell
October 2021
Igloo Energy
E.ON Next
September 2021
Symbio Energy
E.ON Next
September 2021
Enstroga
E.ON Next
September 2021
Green
Shell Energy
September 2021
Avro Energy
Octopus Energy
September 2021
People's Energy
British Gas
September 2021
Utility Point
EDF
September 2021
MoneyPlus Energy
British Gas
September 2021
PFP Energy
British Gas
September 2021
HUB Energy
E.ON Next
August 2021
Simplicity Energy
British Gas
January 2021
Green Network Energy
EDF
January 2021

If your energy supplier is going bust, don't worry – you won’t lose your gas or electricity.

The energy regulator Ofgem has created a ‘safety net’ to make sure that anyone affected isn’t left without energy. So, there shouldn’t be any difference in your gas and electricity supply.

You should take a meter reading and wait for Ofgem to appoint a new supplier – their advice is to wait for their process to finish and not start a new switch until this has happened.

As well as protecting your gas and electricity supply, Ofgem’s safety net also protects any credit balances you might have.

Your new supplier should pay back anything you’re owed from your account, minus costs for the energy you’ve used during the switching process.

But with energy suppliers going bust, it’s not so clear cut what happens if there's a debit on your account, It depends on what your new supplier has agreed with the old supplier’s administrators.

If your new supplier has taken on customer debts from your old supplier, you need to repay the debt to your new supplier.

Otherwise, you may need to repay the debt to the old supplier or their administrator. Your new supplier is meant to explain how this will work when they take over.

The Ofgem automatic switching process with energy suppliers going bust should only take a few days. When your new supplier contacts you, always ask to be put on their cheapest tariff.

In some cases, the switching process can take a lot longer as Ofgem might ask the courts to appoint an administrator to run your existing supplier. Your energy supply and any credit balance will still be protected.

This depends on what kind of smart meteryou have.

If you have a SMETS 2 smart meter, your new supplier should be able to connect to the meter. In this case the switch should be seamless and your smart meter should work as normal.

If you have a SMETS 1 smart meter, chances are your new supplier can't connect to it. In this case you need to send meter readings as you would with a traditional meter.

You might be able to get your new supplier to upgrade your smart meter to a SMETS 2 meter free of charge. Get in touch with them to see if this is the case.

You'll be placed on a special ‘deemed’ contract with a new supplier. You'll find out the new rate when they take over, but it's likely to be on the new supplier's standard variable tariff (SVT). It's up to you how long the deemed contract lasts.

Ofgem claims it aims to get the best deal possible when it chooses a new supplier. But it also says that once the new supplier gets in touch, you should ask them to put you on their cheapest deal.

Yes, you can switch energy suppliers once Ofgem has moved you and the new supplier has contacted you.

You should ask the supplier appointed by Ofgem to put you on their lowest tariff, but you’re also free to shop around to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.

Ofgem has said you won’t have to pay an exit fee if you decide to switch energy supplier after their appointed supplier contacts you.

Find out who the supplier is for your new property and then ask them to put you on their cheapest tariff – you can also compare quotes to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. There won’t be exit fees to pay if you decide to switch.

But if the supplier at the new address is also going bust, you should wait until Ofgem has appointed a new supplier there as well before you try to switch.

It’s a good idea to use a mail redirection service for your old address because the newly-appointed supplier should try to contact you. If you have credit on your account, they're meant to tell you how they’ll be refunding the money.

As always with moving home, you should take meter readings at both the old and new property to make sure you only pay for the energy you use.

This could be a little tricky with energy suppliers going bust as your new supplier isn't required to take on unresolved complaints from your old supplier.

But if you do have a complaint that’s unresolved, you can still discuss it with the new supplier to see if they can help.

If you have a complaint that’s with the Ombudsman, they’re meant to contact you to discuss the next steps.

Energy prices have gone up considerably recently, with energy suppliers going bust as a result.

Now more than before it pays to keep your energy use down.

Here are some ways to save money on your energy bill:

Turn your thermostat down – according to the Energy Saving Trust, lowering your thermostat by a degree could save around 10% on your energy bill.

Turn down the valve on radiators – you might be wasting money by having some of your radiators on too high.

Turn off switches – switching off appliances at the plug could save you £55 per year.

You could also take measures to boost energy efficiency, such as:

  • Using LED bulbs
  • Insulating your loft
  • Installing double glazing
  • Using a smart meter
  • Converting to solar energy using solar panels

Switching energy providers

If you're looking for certainty on your energy bills, compare energy deals to see fixed deals that are currently available.

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