Centrica, owners of British Gas, has swooped in to rescue UK households from doomed supplier Together Energy, which ceased trading last week.
Market regulator Ofgem has allocated the entirety of Together Energy’s 176,000 customer base through its supplier of last resort process.
The latest take-up means British Gas has swallowed up 700,000 new customers from failed suppliers, amid escalating market carnage over the past year.
British Gas we will be in touch with Together Energy customers about the moving-over process in the coming days.
Sub-brand Bristol Energy has also collapsed – with its customers also moving to the Big Six energy firm.
Centrica’s chief executive Chris O’Shea said: “We welcome customers of Together Energy to British Gas, and we’ll ensure the switchover is as smooth as possible. We have now stepped in to help around 700,000 customers who have found themselves without a supplier over the past year, and we’ll continue to engage with the Government and Ofgem to find ways to help stabilise and support the sector.”
Neil Lawrence, director of retail at Ofgem, said: “Ofgem’s number one priority is to protect customers. We know this is a worrying time for many people and news of a supplier going out of business can be unsettling. I want to reassure affected customers that they do not need to worry, under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue.”
Together Energy was backed by Warrington Council, and ceased trading after months of speculation about its financial state amid an escalating energy crisis.
Since last September, 25 energy firms have ceased trading while Bulb Energy has entered special administration, with both developments directly affecting over four million households across the country.
The crisis has led to the government reportedly considering multiple methods to alleviate rising costs, with the consumer price cap expected to rise by as much as 50 per cent in April.
Suggested plans include one-off £500 payments to low-income households, loans to the energy sector to spread out rising costs, expanding the Warm Home Discount scheme, and potential revamping the market so that suppliers receive loans of public money during market shocks which are clawed back when prices drop.
There are growing fears price rises are now baked in, with the UK’s leading trade body warning prices could increase further in October.
While Ofgem has recently announced financial stress tests and opened up a consultation with the industry over the price cap mechanism, free market think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs have warned against further market interventions.