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.
There are 2 easy ways to do this. Just pick the one that suits you best.Option 1. See how it compares before applying. Click here...
Option 2. Call us to get a comparison over the phone.
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.
|Date||Supplier||No. of customers|
|New supplier||Customers affected - domestic (cumulative)|
|18 Dec 2019||Breeze Energy|
(Breeze Energy Supply Limited)
|18,000 domestic||British Gas|| 1,173,800
|23 Oct 2019||Toto Energy|
(TOTO Energy Limited)
|134,000 domestic||EDF Energy||1,155,800|
|15 Oct 2019||Uttily Energy|
(Rutherford Energy Supply Limited)
|280 business||Total Gas and Power|
|6 Sep 2019||Eversmart Energy|
(Eversmart Energy Ltd)
|13 Aug 2019||Solarplicity|
(Solarplicity Supply Limited)
|9 Aug 2019||Cardiff Energy Supply|
(Cardiff Energy Supply Limited)
|11 Mar 2019||Brilliant Energy|
(Brilliant Energy Supply Limited)
|25 Jan 2019||Our Power|
(Our Power Energy Supply Limited)
|8 Jan 2019||Economy Energy|
(Economy Energy Trading Limited)
|235,000 domestic||OVO Energy||936,500|
|10 Dec 2018||One Select|
(One Select Energy Supply Limited)
|36,000 domestic||Together Energy||701,500|
|10 Dec 2018||Spark Energy|
(Spark Energy Supply Limited)
|290,000 domestic||OVO Energy||665,500|
|21 Nov 2018||Extra Energy|
(Extra Energy Supply Limited)
|15 Oct 2018||Usio Energy|
(Usio Energy Supply Limited)
|7, 000 domestic||First Utility||267,500|
|500 domestic||Octopus Energy||260,500|
|27 Jul 2018||Iresa|
|90,000 domestic (approx.)||Octopus Energy||260,000|
|Jul 2018||National Gas and Power Limited||80 business||Hudson Energy|
|25 Jan 2018||Future Energy|
Future Energy Utilities Limited
|10,000 domestic||Green Star Energy||170,000|
|26 Nov 2016||GB Energy Supply|
GB Energy Supply Ltd
|160,000 domestic||Co-operative Energy||160,000|
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).
|Date||Supplier||No. of customers|
|Exit type||New supplier|
|15 Jan 2020||SSE||3.5 million||Trade sale||OVO|
|29 Nov 2019||Green Star Energy||200,000||Trade sale||Shell Energy|
|18 Sep 2019||npower||3.8 million||Trade sale||E.ON|
|29 Aug 2019||Co-operative Energy||300,000||Trade sale / Strategic partnership||Octopus Energy|
|5 Feb 2019||Sainsbury's Energy||Not disclosed||Withdrawal from market||British Gas
No change to supplier as customers already supplied by British Gas
|31 Aug 2018||Affect Energy||22,000 domestic||Trade sale||Octopus Energy|
|25 Jan 2018||Flow Energy||230,000 domestic||Trade sale (at distressed prices)||Co-operative Energy|
|21 Dec 2017||Brighter World Energy||Unknown||Orderly wind down||Robin Hood Energy|
And here is the sorry story in pictures….in reverse chronological order.
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…
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…
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…
…. or pop your postcode into the box below to check online.
Cardiff Energy Supply
Millions of pounds of public funds were wasted on this doomed venture.
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.
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.
Or call us to get a free independent comparison over the phone…
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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.