The Guardian

Two more energy firms go bust as prices rise

- Jillian Ambrose Energy correspond­ent

About half a million households will be moved to a new energy supplier after Utility Point and People’s Energy became the latest energy companies to go bust amid record energy market prices.

The latest casualties bring the total number of failed energy suppliers to seven in the past year, including five within the past five weeks, with the market price for gas and electricit­y having reached new all-time highs.

Utility Point, in Poole, Dorset, supplied gas and electricit­y to about 220,000 homes, while People’s Energy, based in London, supplied gas and electricit­y to about 350,000 homes and around 1,000 non-domestic customers. In total about two million people have been affected by the seven supplier failures.

The regulator, Ofgem, will appoint new suppliers to take on the stranded households and companies through a “safety-net” process that will protect customers’ outstandin­g credit.

Neil Lawrence, Ofgem’s retail director, said it could be “unsettling” to hear that an energy supplier had gone out of business but added: “Ofgem will choose a new supplier for you … our advice is to wait until we appoint a supplier, and do not switch in the meantime. You can rely on your energy supply as normal.”

The latest collapses come less than a week after PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy ceased trading, leaving about 100,000 customers without a supplier. Ofgem has since appointed British Gas to take over the customer accounts from both failed companies.

The first energy supplier to go bust as market prices reached historic highs was Hub Energy. It called in administra­tors mid-August, and the regulator appointed E.ON Next, a division of E.On UK, to take on Hub’s 17,000 customers within days.

The record market prices over recent weeks are expected to lead to higher household energy bills until 2022, rising fuel poverty and the collapse of many small energy suppliers.

 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID PIKE ?? ▲ Karin Sode and David Pike, who co-founded People’s Energy in 2017. Ofgem is to arrange transfer of their customers’ accounts
PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID PIKE ▲ Karin Sode and David Pike, who co-founded People’s Energy in 2017. Ofgem is to arrange transfer of their customers’ accounts

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