Spark Energy Supply, a domestic energy supplier with about 290,000 customers, has ceased trading in the energy supply market. Under Ofgem’s safety net, the energy supply of Spark Energy’s customers will continue as normal. The outstanding credit balances of domestic customers will be protected.
Ofgem will choose a new supplier to take on Spark Energy’s customers as quickly as possible. This supplier will contact these customers shortly after being appointed. Ofgem’s advice to Spark Energy’s customers in the meantime is:
- Do not switch to another energy supplier.
- Take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you.
This will make the process of transferring customers over to the chosen supplier, and paying back their outstanding credit balances, as smooth as possible.
Mary Starks, Ofgem’s Executive Director for Consumers and Markets, said “Our message to energy customers with Spark is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected. Ofgem will now choose a new supplier and ensure you get the best deal possible. Whilst we’re doing this our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.”
“Although we have seen a number of supplier failures this year, our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”
This also follows news earlier this week of Extra Energy, an energy supplier with about 108,000 domestic and 21,000 business customers, having ceased to trade. Ofgem is in the process of choosing a new supplier to take on Extra Energy’s customers as quickly as possible.
Earlier this week, Ofgem launched an investigation into Spark Energy’s non-payment into the government’s Renewable Obligation schemes. The investigation will now close.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said “The failure of two suppliers in a week is yet more evidence that this is a market where firms must have robust finances and sound business models. Ofgem’s announcement of proposals to tighten the rules for new energy suppliers is positive news. But there are poorly performing suppliers in the market now that require the regulator’s attention.”
Spark Energy, Peter Earl, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said “With 108,000 customers, Extra Energy’s collapse caused significant controversy earlier in the week – Spark Energy has nearly three times the number of customers so the impact will be that much more significant. It is reassuring that Ofgem has clear processes in place to protect customers, but the volume and regularity of energy company collapses points to a serious issue. Ofgem is looking to set up new measures to stress test companies, in order to try and reduce the number of insolvencies and the consequent disruption. It needs to action this as a point of urgency.”