Which energy suppliers have gone bust?

Last update: 15 January 2020

This review makes for pretty dismal reading. Energy supplier failures are, no doubt, an inconvenience to consumers. Those customers affected have the inconvenience of getting their supply shifted, while the unpaid bills of the failed supplier get loaded onto everyone else’s energy bills.

But don’t let that put you off switching and prevent you getting a £350 annual saving. There are many well operated, highly rated and viable energy suppliers in the market. Indeed, some of the cheapest deals currently being offered are from the Big 5. What’s important is to check the new supplier and avoid getting sucked into cut price deals from smaller suppliers that ask for several monthly payments in advance.

Which energy suppliers have gone bust – roundup of 2019

  • 8 domestic energy suppliers ceased trading
  • As a result 472,000 energy consumers were shunted onto energy suppliers they never picked.
  • 177,000 (38%) of those customers ended back up with one of the Big 6 (now Big 5) energy suppliers – basically where they started. This rises to 412,000 (87%) if you count OVO energy as one of the new “Big 5”.

Failure to adequately provision for, and make, Renewable Obligation (RO) payments was the trigger that tipped many of these companies into failing. However, it was not the underlying reason for the failure. Ultimately these companies featured some, or all, of the following characteristics; lack of profitability, poor management, insufficient funding.

A 9th energy supplier, URE Energy had its supply license revoked by Ofgem (14 Sep 19). This was also for failing to make RO payments. This effective wind up did not go through a formal transfer of customers under the Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR) process, so it is uncertain how many customers were affected or what happened to them.

Energy suppliers that sold out in 2019

Supplier failures were dwarfed in scale by corporate transactions. Somewhere in the region of 10 million customer accounts changed ownership (or are in the process of changing ownership into 2020) as a result of these transactions.

Energy supplier corporate transactions

  • 4 domestic energy suppliers exited the market through trade sales (Coop Energy, Green Star Energy, npower and SSE (to be completed in Jan 2020)).
  • Co-op Energy, with around 300,000 domestic customers, essentially sold out to Octopus Energy (29 August 2019) for an undisclosed sum. The deal was dressed up as “an exciting new strategic partnership” but was, to all intents and purposes, a sale of the customer base.
  • Green Star Energy, with approximately 200,000 domestic customers, was sold to Shell Energy (29 November 2019) for an undisclosed sum. Had that transaction not completed, there was a material uncertainty as to whether Green Star Energy could continue as a going concern.
  • After the proposed merger between SSE and npower’s retail business was scrapped in December 2018, npower ended up being acquired by E.ON as part of E.ON’s complex asset swap with Innogy. After the E.ON / Innogy asset swap deal was cleared by European Competition Authorities (18 September 2019) E.ON promised to quickly clarify the future of npower. At that time, E.ON’s Chairman and CEO, uncharitably but accurately, described npower as “an open wound that is bleeding profusely” . Sure enough, in November 2019 E.ON announced plans to move all domestic npower customers onto E.ON’s IT platform resulting in the loss of around 4,500 jobs. npower’s estimated 3.5 million customers accounts (a number that has been falling rapidly) were transferred to E.ON.
  • SSE and OVO Energy agreed a deal (13 September 2019) whereby OVO would acquire the retail energy business of SSE for £500m. As part of the deal OVO will take over SSE’s 3.5 million domestic household accounts (around 5.7 million customer accounts) and 8,000 staff. The deal received regulatory clearance on 10 December 2019 and will completed on 15 January 2020.

Energy suppliers that just about scraped through in 2019

  • Robin Hood Energy was the subject of a proposed final order from Ofgem for not having paid £9.4m in Renewable Obligations for 2018-19. The company was bailed out with a £9.5 million loan by its owner, Nottingham City Council. The loan allowed Robin Hood Energy to make its ROC payments in full and so avoid having its license revoked. The loan is interest bearing and repayable in 6 months. It will be interesting to see how this unprofitable “not for profit” supplier is going to secure the cash to repay the loan on time. One to watch for 2020.

Breeze Energy goes bust

Breeze Energy is the latest domestic energy supplier to go bust. It is the 16th domestic energy supplier to fail and the 8th to fail in 2019.

The table below lists UK energy suppliers which have gone bust since November 2016. Although there were occasional failures prior to this date, they were few and far between.

Ofgem’s laid back approach to energy supplier market entry has created havoc for over a million energy consumers, and driven up bills as the carcasses of failed energy suppliers mounts up.

The real irony is that some of the suppliers appointed by Ofgem to rescue “failed suppliers” are now at risk of failing themselves. Indeed, some customers will now have been with 2 or more failed suppliers.

We update this page regularly with new data as more energy companies collapse. Please check back regularly (if you’re into that sort of thing).

In the meantime, if your old energy supplier appears on this list here is what you need to do.

To avoid getting stuffed with a poor deal with the new energy supplier, please make sure you compare what you have been offered.

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Option 2. Call us to get a comparison over the phone.

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Energy suppliers that have gone bust

The data in the table below has been sourced from multiple public domain sources. Source data includes announcements from industry regulator Ofgem, cross-checked with energy supplier websites and Companies House filings.

The Supplier column shows the name of the failed energy supplier.

The new supplier column shows the energy supplier was appointed by Ofgem to take over the failed supplier’s customer base. This is undertaken under the SOLR (Supplier of Last Resort) provisions.

DateSupplierNo. of customers
affected (approx.)
New supplierCustomers affected - domestic (cumulative)
18 Dec 2019Breeze Energy
(Breeze Energy Supply Limited)
18,000 domesticBritish Gas 1,173,800
23 Oct 2019Toto Energy
(TOTO Energy Limited)
134,000 domesticEDF Energy1,155,800
15 Oct 2019Uttily Energy
(Rutherford Energy Supply Limited)
280 businessTotal Gas and Power
6 Sep 2019Eversmart Energy
(Eversmart Energy Ltd)
29,000 domesicUtilita1,021,800


13 Aug 2019Solarplicity
(Solarplicity Supply Limited)
800 domesticSSE992,800

9 Aug 2019Cardiff Energy Supply
(Cardiff Energy Supply Limited)
800 domesticSSE985,300
11 Mar 2019Brilliant Energy
(Brilliant Energy Supply Limited)
17,000 domesticSSE984,500
25 Jan 2019Our Power
(Our Power Energy Supply Limited)
31,000 domesticUtilita967,500
8 Jan 2019Economy Energy
(Economy Energy Trading Limited)
235,000 domesticOVO Energy936,500
10 Dec 2018One Select
(One Select Energy Supply Limited)
36,000 domesticTogether Energy701,500
10 Dec 2018Spark Energy
(Spark Energy Supply Limited)
290,000 domesticOVO Energy665,500
21 Nov 2018Extra Energy
(Extra Energy Supply Limited)
108,000 domestic
21,000 business
ScottishPower375,500
15 Oct 2018Usio Energy
(Usio Energy Supply Limited)
7, 000 domesticFirst Utility267,500
Sep 2018Gen4U
(Gen4u Ltd)
500 domesticOctopus Energy260,500
27 Jul 2018Iresa
Iresa Limited
90,000 domestic (approx.)Octopus Energy260,000
Jul 2018National Gas and Power Limited80 businessHudson Energy
25 Jan 2018Future Energy
Future Energy Utilities Limited
10,000 domesticGreen Star Energy170,000
26 Nov 2016GB Energy Supply
GB Energy Supply Ltd
160,000 domesticCo-operative Energy160,000

Other energy suppliers withdrawing from the market

For the record, here is a list of energy suppliers who have exited the market in a more orderly way (without crashing and burning).

DateSupplierNo. of customers
affected (approx.)
Exit typeNew supplier
15 Jan 2020SSE3.5 millionTrade saleOVO
29 Nov 2019Green Star Energy200,000Trade saleShell Energy
18 Sep 2019npower3.8 millionTrade saleE.ON
29 Aug 2019Co-operative Energy300,000Trade sale / Strategic partnershipOctopus Energy
5 Feb 2019Sainsbury's Energy


Not disclosedWithdrawal from marketBritish Gas

No change to supplier as customers already supplied by British Gas
31 Aug 2018Affect Energy

22,000 domesticTrade saleOctopus Energy
25 Jan 2018Flow Energy

230,000 domesticTrade sale (at distressed prices)Co-operative Energy
21 Dec 2017Brighter World Energy

UnknownOrderly wind downRobin Hood Energy

Company Announcements

And here is the sorry story in pictures….in reverse chronological order.

Breeze Energy

If you are a Breeze Energy customer and want to check the British Gas energy deal that you’ve been offered call us to get a comparison over the phone…

0800 083 2819

breeze-energy-goes-bust

Toto Energy

If you were a Toto Energy customer and want to check the EDF Energy deal you’ve been offered (Welcome Apr20) call us to get a comparison over the phone…

0800 083 2819

toto-energy-goes-bust

 

Eversmart Energy

Eversmart Energy seem to have been so keen to exit the market they haven’t even bothered to keep their website live. Anyone who was with Eversmart Energy and needs to contact them well, I’m afraid you are all out of luck.

If you were an Eversmart Energy customer and don’t like the Utilita deal you’ve been offered call us to get a comparison over the phone…

0800 083 2819

…. or pop your postcode into the box below to check online.

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Solarplicity

solarplicity-goes-bust-energyscanner.com

Cardiff Energy Supply

cardiff-energy-supply-goes-bust-energyscanner

 

Brilliant Energy

brilliant-energy-goes-bust

 

Our Power

Millions of pounds of public funds were wasted on this doomed venture.

our-power-goes-bust

 

Economy Energy

economy-energy-goes-bust

One Select

one-select-goes-bust

 

Spark Energy

spark-energy-ceases-trading

 

Extra Energy

extra-energy-ceases-trading

Usio Energy

usio-energy-goes-bust

Gen4U

 

gen4u-goes-bust

Iresa

iresa-goes-bust

Future Energy

future-energy-goes-bust

GB Energy Supply

GB Energy Supply spectacularly imploded in November 2016. It was the first of the failures of the group of domestic energy suppliers that entered the UK energy market under Ofgem rules which allowed energy suppliers to get a license with little if any capital, and with no relevant industry experience.

 

gb-energy-supply-goes-bust

That’s all for now. More to follow we’re sure.

Remember, you do not have to accept any new energy deal you are offered by the new supplier who takes over your supply. What you absolutely should do is a comparison to see how that deal stacks up. If necessary, leg it out of there. Pop your postcode into the box below to check online.

Why pay more for the same energy?

Find and switch to a better deal in minutes.

Or call us to get a free independent comparison over the phone…

0800 083 2819

Got a story you’d like to share?

If your energy supplier has gone bust and you have an interesting story you’d like to share then please get in touch. You can either leave a comment or get in touch via our Contact Form. Adding comments is subject to our Terms and Acceptable Use Policy. We reserve full rights over what we publish and please understand that we may need to take measures to ensure the validity and accuracy of any comments submitted before doing so. Please therefore don’t get offended if we don’t publish your comments.

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