Troubled energy supplier URE saw its licence to supply electricity ripped up in front of its eyes today after multiple warnings from regulator Ofgem.
The decision to revoke its permission to supply customers came after the company refused to meet its £209,000 debt to a fund set up by the regulator.
Energy suppliers who have not sourced enough of their electricity from renewable sources are obliged to pay into a fund to further green energy.
URE was one of a handful of suppliers which missed the deadline last August. Two others, Economy Energy and Spark Energy, have since gone bust.
A third, Eversmart, managed to scrape together what it owed.
Ofgem’s action against URE is the first time the regulator has ripped up a supplier’s licence for any other reason that it going out of business.
A series of public warnings against the supplier do not seem to have helped the case.
In April, City A.M. revealed that URE’s chair, John Coombs, has a past littered with failed businesses and angry investors.
Investors in Biocide, one of his former companies, claimed the chair transferred one of its key products to another firm he ran, without logging it in the Biocide’s accounts.
Coombs denied the allegation.
The news comes just days after supplier Solarplicity fell out of the market after several run-ins with Ofgem.
The regulator’s decision now looks all but certain to knock another supplier out.
“Without a licence, it is difficult to see a credible pathway for this provider going forward,” said Peter Earl at Compare the Market, a price comparison website.
He added: “Ofgem’s action against URE Energy and the collapse of Solarplicity demonstrates, to avoid adversely affecting consumer confidence it is essential that the process of supplying energy to customers is not a free-for-all.”
The energy regulator introduced new checks on suppliers wanting to enter the market earlier this year.