AGENDA WEST NEWS: Bulb, Avro and now Zog – the energy crisis smashing the free market dominated by the big six leaving customers and suppliers in the lurch

Energy firms leave millions in the lurch

With Zog Energy’s collapse there are now 3.8 million households affected by Britain’s worst energy crisis since the Three Day Week in the 1970s. Then under Ted Heath’s Conservative Government energy was in the hands of the state and prices were supervised by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Under the deregulation of Margaret Thatcher’s Government the energy industry was privatised leading eventually to a multiplicity of firms bidding for your business. That worked until the price of gas in particular (but also of oil) began to rise sharply. The regulator Ofgem’s price cap meant smaller firms couldn’t absorb the losses and were effectively trading at a loss while the larger firms – the big six – buy in bulk in advance when prices were lower.

Zog Energy ceased trading this week with their 11,700 customers allocated to another company – but as ICSM’s Ian Carrotte has pointed out if they were in credit, they are lending the new energy supplier an interest free loan.

“Factories that use thousands of pounds of electricity and gas a month could find their overheads are hiked without warning,” he said, “apart from giving an energy firm an interest free loan in form of credit they lose control of one of their fixed costs. It is unacceptable. As least in the good old bad old days of British Gas and the likes of SWEB there was consistency in price – something businesses need when working out their costs.”

The ICSM boss also pointed out that when the energy firms go bust they usually take with them thousands in unpaid invoices to suppliers, sometimes the taxman and VAT are left unpaid and of course their staff are canned – and not always paid off with their entitlement meaning the tax payer picks up the tab. Bulb were a big played in the market with 1.7 million customers and so when they went into a special administration regime (SAR) which protects consumers and ensures continued energy supplies. Outside of the Big Six Bulb was the largest of the smaller suppliers.

So who is next? Octopus Energy UK is the largest firm outside the Big Six and they have told the Government and Ofgem this week they are safe as have Green Energy UK.

Which energy suppliers have gone bust this year?

Green Network Energy – Taken over by EDF in February 2021

Simplicity Energy – Taken over by British Gas in February 2021

HUB Energy – Taken over by E.ON Next in August 2021

PFP Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

MoneyPlus Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

Utility Point – Taken over by EDF in September 2021

People’s Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

Arvo Energy – Taken over by Octopus Energy in September 2021

Green – Taken over by Shell in September 2021

Enstroga – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Igloo Energy – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Symbio Energy – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Colorado Energy – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Pure Planet – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Daligas Limited – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

GOTO Energy Limited – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Zebra Power – Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Omni Energy – Taken over by Utilita in November 2021

AmpowerUK – Taken over by Yü Energy in November 2021

MA Energy – Taken over by SmartestEnergy Business Limited in November 2021

Bluegreen Energy – Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Neon Reef –Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Social Energy –Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Bulb – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Orbit Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Entice Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Zog Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Which leaves just 10 energy firms in the UK.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk