Friday 24 September 2021 7:11 am

Kwarteng: No grants to energy big boys to take on more customers

GRANTS to larger energy firms to absorb new customers are “categorically” off the table, the business secretary told MPs yesterday.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Kwasi Kwarteng said that there was an existing process to deal with customers of energy firms that collapsed, the supplier of last resort.

When a firm fails, customers are transferred to another energy providers to ensure that the lights don’t go out.

But there have been calls amid rising wholesale prices and a number of firms folding that the Government might stump up the cash – estimated at £600 per customer by trade body EnergyUK – for those larger operators to onboard new customers.

The process involves a bidding process amongst ongoing energy firms, with the costs taken on by the company that wins the bid but also by the industry at large.

“I categorically say to the House that we will not be giving any grants or subsidies to larger companies,” he said amid an early-morning session.

Yesterday the customers of Utility Point, which went bust last week, were transferred to EDF Energy.
Kwarteng again warned that a number of firms were likely to go bust amid rising wholesale prices of natural gas, much of which is used in the UK to generate electricity.

“There are more than 50 suppliers in the domestic market, and we may, unfortunately, see more suppliers exit the market in the coming weeks. However, it is not unusual for energy suppliers to leave the market, for various reasons, particularly when wholesale global prices are rising,” Kwarteng said.

Earlier this week there were reports that Bulb, with more than a million customers, were looking for funding alongside advisers Lazard.

Read more: Small energy suppliers Green and Avro cease trading after pleading for support