Soaring wholesale gas prices is threatening to reshape the energy sector.
According to trade body Oil & Gas UK, wholesale gas prices have significantly increased by 250% since the start of 2021 and there has been a 70% surge in August.
Unable to pass the immediate expense on to customers due to the energy price cap, companies are having to shoulder the additional financial costs in the short term.
Here’s a look at which energy companies have gone bust already, those suppliers at risk of going under, if OVO is one of them and what to do if your energy provider goes under.
Is OVO Energy going bust?
OVO Energy, founded in 2009, has around three million customers.
On Thursday afternoon it took down a button from its website which allows customers to get a quote in under two minutes on their energy bills.
Customers can still get through to sign up with OVO, but the process is now more complicated than before.
One industry insider speculated that the company might be trying to slow the flow of new customers who are abandoning less stable small suppliers in favour of the larger players.
Companies would normally welcome new customers with open arms, but amid runaway gas prices it has become very expensive to bring in new households.
Which energy providers are in trouble?
Energy supplier Symbio has stopped accepting new customers as turbulence has rocked the sector and put many of its rivals out of business.
Symbio said “technical issues” have forced it to stop taking new customers for the time being.
The supplier, which was fined earlier this year by regulator Ofgem, is another in a long line to stop taking new energy customers, as soaring gas prices squeeze their finances.
Igloo, Ampower, Utilita and Neo Energy have all decided to stop taking customers recently, while a series of other suppliers have gone out of business.
Bulb has stopped its popular refer a friend scheme, which sees users get £50 and the friend get £50 of credit, while it attempts to secure extra funding to keep the company afloat.
“While wholesale energy prices are so high, we’re temporarily pausing our referral scheme where we reward members for signing up their friends and family. We love to pay our members for spreading the word about Bulb, so we’ll bring it back as soon as we’re able to,” a Bulb spokesperson told the PA news agency.
Which energy suppliers have gone bust?
No fewer than seven energy firms have gone bust in recent weeks brought on by the rise in wholesale gas prices coupled with the energy price cap.
Avro Energy and Green Supplier Limited ceased trading on 22 September, Utility Point and People’s Energy went bust on 14 September, a week after PFP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy, and a month after HUB Energy.
New suppliers have been found for five of the seven firms to have gone bust, with industry regulations ensuring energy supply will continue for affected customers.
What should I do if my energy supplier goes bust?
Households will not be without energy.
If your energy supplier goes bust you will still receive gas and electricity under rules put in place by energy regulator Ofgem.
Your account will be transferred to another energy provider but be warned that you may be placed on a more expensive tariff initially.
It is recommended that you take a note - or photograph - of your meter reading as soon as possible while you wait for the new supplier to make contact.
All money is protected so any credit you had with your previous supplier will be paid back. Equally, if you were in debt then that will still need to be paid back.
Citizens Advice says there is no need to cancel a direct debit straight away and recommends waiting for your new account to be set up with the new supplier before cancelling or changing.
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