The UK energy market is going through unprecedented times, seeing an above-average amount of energy suppliers going bust leaving many energy consumers wondering what they need to do next. While these uncertain times may be causing you a lot of stress, the best thing that you can do is to be informed of what you’ll need to do if your supplier goes bust. In this article, we will answer all the questions you may have if your a transferred to a supplier of last resort and guide you through the steps you will need to undertake if your energy supplier goes bust.
Last update: September 2021
As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage, putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.
During the UK energy crisis, this page below serves as our guide on everything that you’ll need to know about what to do when your energy supplier goes bust. There are many concerns that you may have at this time about your energy supply, but we want to assure you that if you are armed with the right information there is nothing that you need to stress over. Even if you are struggling to keep up financially as a result of recent energy price hikes, there are steps that you can take to reach out to the necessary people to get the support that you need.
Between the global gas shortage, the Covid-19 pandemic and of course Brexit, the UK is truly going through unprecedented challenges at this time. Fortunately, measures are being taken to ensure that your energy supply will never be interrupted and that you can receive financial aid if you are falling behind on payments.
What to do now that your supplier has gone bust?
If your energy supplier has gone bust you have likely been contacted by them in some fashion, depending on the supplier it could be by either by mail, email or even a phone call. If you are unsure whether your supplier has gone bust you can check on our webpage about the UK energy crisis, which we are updating regularly.
What to do before you know what supplier you’ve been switched to.
If your energy supplier has gone under, there is no need to worry, this has been an often occurrence in the UK energy market even before the global gas shortage caused an energy crisis within the UK. It is important that, even though it may sound counterintuitive, you should not try to switch suppliers right away. This is because Ofgem, the governing body that regulates the UK energy market, will assign you a new energy supplier as soon as possible ensuring that you do not lose the flow of energy to your home. If you try to switch suppliers on your own before your newly assigned energy supplier registers your information it could lead to some troublesome issues with miscommunications down the line.
The process of your new supplier registering you as a new customer and getting all of your information into their system could take a couple of weeks, so during this period of time it would be helpful to retrieve the following:
- Take meter readings from your energy meter. Even having photos of your readings could be helpful just in case!
- Organize and maintain your old energy bills. These can be helpful to display your payment history including any outstanding debts or a credit balance.
- Note down your account balance, which can be found in one of your latest statements from your (previous) energy supplier.
You can get the above information quite easily if you have an online account, many suppliers keep their web domains partially active during the transition time or provide some last-minute customer support to their customers. Once online log into your customer portal and download your previous bills and/or statements, which can provide you helpful information when looking for your next tariff plan.
What to do after you know what supplier you’ve been switched to
Now that you know which energy supplier you’ve been switched to it may still be a few weeks before the switch is completely finished, so it is important to be patient at this time. The process can take anything from one to three weeks depending on a number of factors, but you can be assured that your energy supply will not be interrupted. Typically, once you are in the system of the new supplier they will reach out to you and notify you that you are now one of their customers.
It is essential that once you have been acknowledged by the new supplier as an existing customer that you reach out and ask which tariff plan that they have placed you on. While some suppliers may respect your existing contract from your previous supplier that just went bust, there is a distinct possibility that you have been switched a tariff plan of your new supplier. If that does happen there is a solid chance that your new tariff is not the best available tariff plan, so reaching out could save you a lot if they’ve transferred you to an expensive tariff plan.
Are my energy bills going to go up?
Unfortunately, it is almost a sure thing that your energy costs are going to increase at least marginally when your supplier goes bust and you are transferred to a new supplier. The reason this happens is that unless your new supplier honours your existing contract until it expires, you will be switched to a default tariff that is going to be likely going to be expensive.
Is the gas crisis going to impact the prices of my energy?
Fortunately, the UK Government has a scheme in place that is called the Energy Price Cap which is monitored and regulated by Ofgem, the UK Government’s energy market branch. The Energy Price Cap provides a limit for the rates that suppliers are allowed to charge their customers, so even if costs for wholesale energy go way up customers are not going to have their energy bills jump overnight. The Energy Price Cap is reviewed twice a year, once in April and one in October, and now that October’s Energy Price Cap rates are in effect consumers do not need to worry about their energy rates being increased above the price cap until April when the price cap is reviewed again.
What is my new rate going to be?
This will depend on the supplier that you have been switched to, so it is really difficult to say with any certainty the exact rate that you will be paying. However, for your convenience, we have compiled a shortlist of the default tariffs of the suppliers that Ofgem has funnelled the customers of defaulted suppliers to, including British Gas, E.ON, Octopus Energy, Shell Energy, and EDF.
The rates and costs associated with each of these supplier’s standard variable tariffs can be seen here:
|Supplier name||Tariff Plan||Type of fuel||Standing charge (p/day)||Unit rate cost (p/kWh)||Average total annual cost (£/year)|
|British Gas||Standard Variable||Electricity||27.40 p*||20.84 p*||£ 1,034.09**|
|E.ON Next||Next Flex||Electricity||29.480 p*||22.310 p*||£ 754.666**|
|Octopus Energy||flexibleOctopus||Electricity||27.39 p*||18.96 p*||£ 649.88**|
|Shell Energy||Flexible 5 Direct Debit ebill||Electricity||27.410 p*||18.981 p*||£ 650.564**|
|EDF||Standard Variable||Electricity||27.400 p*||20.840 p*||£ 699.763**|
|British Gas||Standard Variable||Gas||26.12 p*||4.01 p*||£ 576.61**|
|E.ON Next||Next Flex||Gas||30.780 p*||4.400 p*||£ 640.424**|
|Octopus Energy||flexibleOctopus||Gas||23.85 p*||3.27 p*||£ 479.51**|
|Shell Energy||Flexible 5 Direct Debit ebill||Gas||26.600 p*||3.282 p*||£ 556.637**|
|EDF||Standard Variable||Gas||26.120 p*||4.010 p*||£ 576.603**|
* Please note that these prices are for indicative purposes only. Indeed, prices are post-code based and can vary significantly from one region to another. Call our our experts to get the most up-to-date prices for your location.
** Based on the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV) defined by Ofgem. On average: 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.
Rates are inclusive of VAT at 5%.
All tariffs listed above are variable rate tariffs and therefore have no exit fees.
Will I need to change my energy meter if my supplier goes bust?
If you are using a smart meter than there is a chance that your smart meter could stop working in ‘smart mode’ when you’re moved to a new supplier. What this means is that it may stop sending meter readings automatically to your supplier and if you normally use an app connected to your smart meter to top up that may stop working as well.
If this happens to you then you will then need to start taking meter readings yourself and to send your meter readings manually. If this is not what you want to happen, you may need to switch to a supplier that will accommodate the type of smart meter that you have.
What type of smart meter do I have?
There are currently two generations of Smart Meters available in the UK, first generation smart meters are known as SMETS1 and second generation smart meters are referred to as SMETS2. Telling the difference is rather simple, even though there are many different models available for both generations of smart meters, each one has a serial number that can tell you which generation it is. If the serial number starts with 19P, it’s a SMETS1 meter, whereas, if the serial number starts with 19M, this means it’s a SMETS2.
The reason why first generation smart meters often ‘go dumb’ when you switch suppliers is because they utilize a 3G system to send data to your supplier, which has since become outdated, and as a result, you may need to manually send your readings to your new supplier from now on. However, second-generation smart meters operate by sending the meter readings data to a third party called the DCC (Data and Communications Company), meaning that even if you switch suppliers the smart meter will still function properly.
What will happen if I use a prepayment meter?
If you are on a prepayment meter and your new supplier has a prepayment tariff plan that you are likely going to be switched to this tariff plan automatically, however in the time leading up to the transition to your new supplier we do not suggest making any sizeable top-up. This is because there is a distinct risk of your credit balance being wiped when you are switched over to your new supplier.
Your new supplier will be responsible for the following things:
- Telling you how you can top-up your meter.
- If necessary, provide you with a new prepayment meter at no cost.
Who should I contact if I’m having troubles with my prepayment meter?
If you are in between suppliers because yours went bust and you haven’t been appointed a new one yet and you are having problems with your prepayment meter for any reason, you can reach out to Citizens Advice or Advice Direct Scotland.
The can help you if:
- You need a new top up key card or token.
- You are not able to top up your prepayment meter as you would normally.
- You have lost power.
- You cannot afford to top up your prepayment meter and need emergency credit.
Their contact information is as follows:
- Call 0808 223 1133.
- Use their online webchat.
- For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number.
Advice Direct Scotland–
- Call 0808 800 9060.
- Use their online webchat.
- Contact them by email.
- File a claim on their support portal
Will my new supplier have the same services?
Once you find out which supplier that you have been transferred to you can get a better idea of what services you can keep from your supplier that has gone bust. There are a number of services that many energy suppliers offer their customers, but not every supplier has the same perks or policies. The services listed below are examples of some services that you might be able to continue depending on the supplier that you have been switched to.
Can I keep my Warm Home Discount?
If you have been getting the Warm Home Discount with your previous supplier, you will need to check with your new supplier to find out if you can keep it. Some suppliers are not going to be able to offer the same service, so if you are hoping to keep your Warm Home Discount then you may need to switch suppliers.
What will happen to my Smart Export Guarantee tariff?
If you have had a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariff with a supplier that went bust, once you’ve been appointed a new supplier you will need to agree to a new SEG tariff for all of the electricity that you export in order to continue receiving SEG payments. If the supplier you have been transferred to is not an SEG Licensee you may need to switch to a new supplier that is. New SEG licensees are only obliged to make payments for exported electricity when a new SEG contract starts.
Suppliers that are SEG Licencees at the moment include:
- British Gas
- E Energy
- EDF Energy
- Octopus Energy
- OVO Energy
- Pure Planet
- Scottish Power
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Utility Warehouse
When can I switch to a new supplier?
When your energy supplier has gone bust and you are officially integrated into the system of the new supplier that you have been appointed by Ofgem, you will be free to switch to a supplier of your choosing without any penalty or exit fee. The reason for waiting until the transition is complete is because switching too early can make it difficult to get back any money that you are owed from your previous supplier if you switch before too quickly. Nonetheless, it may be the immediate reaction to switch to a supplier of your choosing rather than the new supplier assigned to you by Ofgem.
Desìte this, the current energy crisis in the UK makes this a troublesome time to identify and switch to a new supplier because of the uncertainty and instability within the market. In other words, it may be frustrating to switch suppliers only to have your new supplier also go bust just weeks later. As a result, it is a common practice at times such as these to wait out the crisis while getting the best deal with the supplier that has been appointed to you by Ofgem.
However, if you really do want to ensure that you are getting the best available deal on the market, even during these unprecedented times, we highly suggest that you call our energy experts at tel:0330 818 6223 as they will be able to provide you with some insights regarding the pricing and stability of energy suppliers that are still actively trading.
My supplier went bust, who am I being transferred to?
Below you can find the latest information about which suppliers have gone bust and which suppliers have been appointed to take on their customers.
|Supplier That Went Bust||New Supplier||When They Ceased Trading||Number of Customers|
|Igloo Energy||E.ON Next||September 2021||179 000 domestic|
|ENSTROGA||E.ON Next||September 2021||6 000 domestic|
|Symbio Energy||E.ON Next||September 2021||48 000 domestic|
|Avro||Octopus Energy||September 2021||580 000 domestic|
|Green||Shell Energy||September 2021||255 000 domestic|
|Utility Point||EDF||September 2021||220 000 domestic|
|People’s Energy||British Gas||September 2021||350 000 domestic and 1 000 businesses|
|MoneyPlus Energy||British Gas||September 2021||9 000 domestic|
|PFP Energy||British Gas||September 2021||82 000 domestic and 5 600 non-domestic|
|HUB Energy||E.ON Next||August 2021||6 000 domestic and 9 000 non-domestic|
Is my current supplier at risk of going bust?
Even though the “Big 6” energy suppliers (British Gas, E.ON, N Power, SSE, EDF and Scottish Power) rarely offer the best energy deals and rates, it’s understandable that many UK consumers prefer a reliable name when there are so many smaller suppliers going bust.
Although the “Big 6” energy companies supply around 70% of the UK’s gas and electricity, there are many smaller independent suppliers to choose from, with over 50 active energy suppliers in the market right now. Most recently, promising energy companies like Tonik Energy, Effortless Energy, Toto Energy, Breeze energy and more have folded, while council-funded Robin Hood Energy and all the suppliers reliant on it were bought out by British Gas earlier this year.
However, there are many reasons why households may be better served by a smaller supplier. These include cheaper energy deals, a greener energy fuel mix and even superior customer service. And even if your smaller supplier does go bust, it’s not the end of the world.
🟢 Which suppliers are stable? 🟢
In the midst of the current energy crisis in the UK may be helpful to know which suppliers are the most stable, meaning that they are not currently at risk of going bust. These suppliers are still taking on new customers and seem to be able to maintain cash flow despite the financial troubles caused by the energy crisis.
The following suppliers are considered stable:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
- E.ON / E.ON Next
- OVO Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Utility Warehouse
- Shell Energy
We are considering these suppliers as stable for a number of factors, including the following:
- Their total market share.
- Total number of customers.
- The integrity of their financial backing.
- They have continued to accept new customers.
- Ofgem has designated it as the new supplier for the customers of defaulted supplier.
🟡 Which suppliers are moderately stable? 🟡
We have categorised the following suppliers as moderately stable, meaning that their customers do not need to worry about the imminent risk of their supplier going bust. Many of these suppliers have temporarily stopped accepting bids from new clients, meaning that they are not taking on any additional customers at this time. Instead, they are focusing on doing what they can to outlast the energy crisis and come out the other side with a core of very loyal customers.
- Outfox the Market
- Together Energy
- So Energy
- Coop Energy
- ESB Energy
- Pure Planet
- Orbit Energy
- Click Energy
- E Energy
- Bristol Energy
- Entice Energy
- Marks & Spencer Energy
- Green Energy UK
- Igloo Energy
These suppliers have been placed in the moderately stable category at this time because they have all assured their customers that they are in stable condition and plan to continue providing energy as they always have, albeit at a more expensive rate than in the past. Energy consumers that receive their power supply from one of the above suppliers are not at immediate risk of going bust but would benefit from staying up to date on news within the UK energy market during the energy crisis.
🔴 Which suppliers are currently at risk? 🔴
The energy suppliers below are considered to be at a more elevated level of risk compared to competitors in the UK market. While these suppliers are currently listed as “at-risk” of going bust and are frequently being discussed in the news, it does not mean that these suppliers will definitely go under.
Below you can find the shortlist of suppliers that are currently considered at risk of going bust, as well as a short description to explain their current situation.
- Bulb Energy – Bulb Energy is one of the largest suppliers in the UK but has recently been under blast in the media for allegedly seeking a bailout from the UK Government as a result of a liquidation issue. However, a Bulb Energy spokesman has responded to these claims and assured that they are rumours and not true, rather Bulb Energy has been in discussion with several investment groups to explore different opportunities to provide better prices for their customers. While Bulb Energy insists that they are stable at the moment, rumours of a merger or a bailout are still flooding the news line.
- Good Energy – Good Energy is in a relatively safe position in terms of dealing with the energy crisis, however, they are currently fighting off a hostile takeover bid from competing energy supplier, Ecotricity. While Ecotricity very recently raised their ownership stake in Good Energy to 27%, they are actively seeking an opportunity to purchasing a controlling stake despite growing concern from Good Energy’s leadership. As a result of this looming threat, coupled with the trouble caused by the energy crisis, Good Energy is at an elevated level of risk compared to some of its competitors.
- Zog Energy – Zog Energy is one of the very few gas-only suppliers in the UK, and given the fact that the UK energy crisis is driven by gas shortages resulting in massive price hikes, Zog Energy is not in a favourable situation. In fact, Zog Energy recently took part as one of 15 suppliers who worked together in penning an open letter to the UK Government stating that Ofgem is not suited to regulate the UK energy industry because it is not creating a fair competitive environment.
- Zebra Power – Zebra Power is amongst the more expensive small energy suppliers in the UK, making them particularly vulnerable to the volatility within the UK energy market. Zebra Power is also one of the 15 suppliers that voiced their concerns about Ofgem’s credibility in an open letter very recently, claiming that without the UK Government taking action they would surely go under. Seeing as how Ofgem and the UK Government have yet to take any step towards intervening with the energy crisis, Zebra Power is in a precarious position that could see them at risk of going under.
Why do energy suppliers go bust?
There are a number of reasons why (mostly) smaller energy suppliers go bust. The principal reason, however, is cash flow. The energy industry operates on razor-thin margins to begin with. And the easiest way for smaller energy suppliers to make an impression is by undercutting the larger suppliers with their lower prices.
As such, it can take years for a smaller supplier to become profitable. If they lose customers due to lapses in customer service (which can easily happen as smaller teams get over-stretched), their cash flow is stretched even thinner.
One operational slip up can result in heavy fines from Ofgem which can cause fatal cash flow problems. Especially when new customers are scared away by poor Trustpilot reviews.
Most common concerns regarding the closure of an energy supplier
We understand that if your energy supplier goes bust, it can be a source of great anxiety. Especially if you were really happy with them. As frustrating as it may be, the best thing to do is sit and wait to see what happens next. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t educate yourself. Better understanding the procedure can help to allay your anxieties and make better-informed decisions about your energy supply.
To save you the trouble of searching through various online resources to get the help you need, we’ve compiled a short list of common concerns energy consumers typically have about the process following their supplier going bust.
Will my gas and electricity be cut off?
No. This is a very common (and completely understandable) fear that energy consumers have when their supplier goes out of business. But as of 2003, part of Ofgem’s role as the energy industry regulator is specifically to prevent households from losing their energy supply.
Will I have to find a new supplier?
No, a supplier of last resort will be chosen for you. It’s a good idea to wait until you know who this is, and the transition has occurred before deciding whether or not you should take your business elsewhere.
Who will choose my new supplier?
It is part of Ofgem’s responsibility to provide what is known as a “safety net” for your energy supply. This means that they choose a suitable new supplier and oversee the transition so that it is as simple and stress-free as possible for customers.
Will my energy tariff change if my supplier goes bust?
Almost certainly, yes. In some cases, when a larger supplier buys out a failing smaller supplier, they may try to accommodate or match the tariffs that customers use so that the amount they pay stays the same, even if the name of the tariff changes.
In cases where Ofgem has had to intervene, however, what usually happens is that customers are placed on a “deemed contract” with the supplier of last resort. This is the same sort of contract as when you move into a new home and have to use the previous occupant’s supplier.
On a deemed contract, you will inevitably be placed on a standard variable tariff. Because the cost of wholesale energy is quite low at the time of writing, that may not be so bad. But these rates are usually more expensive than fixed-rate tariffs.
When you know who has taken control of our supply and what their unit rates and standing charges are, you are well-positioned to see how much you can save by switching. When you’re on a deemed contract you can change suppliers and tariffs at any time without incurring an exit fee.
I’m in credit to my old supplier. Will I get this money back?
Yes. When a new supplier takes on a failed supplier’s customers, it also takes on any credit that is owed. However, Ofgem recommends taking a meter reading (with photos) and making a note of your account balance, just to be on the safe side.
I’m paying back debt to my old supplier. Will I still pay this to my new supplier?
This is a little bit more complicated. It really depends on the specific agreement between your failed supplier’s administrators and your new supplier. If they have arranged to take on customer debts, you will need to pay the debt back to your new supplier.
Again, the best thing to do is hang fire and wait for your new supplier to advise you.
I had made a complaint to my old supplier and I’m still waiting for it to be resolved. What happens now?
When transitioning to a new supplier, your complaint may be rendered irrelevant. However, if it still pertains to the supply that they have taken over, and still affects you as their new customer, you will have to raise the complaint again with the new supplier. If they do not resolve your complaint within 8 weeks, the matter can be taken to the Energy Ombudsman.
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What if I’m not sure who my supplier is?
Most of us know who suppliers energy to our homes, but if you’ve just moved into a new property, you may be unaware of who is in charge of your energy supply. Rather than wait for your first bill to arrive, you can find out who supplies energy to your property by contacting your area’s Distribution Network Operator. They can tell you who supplies electricity to your home. They can also let you know your MPAN number, which will be helpful if you want to change suppliers later. While your gas will likely be supplied by the same company, you can check this by contacting your area’s Gas Transporter.
You can find your Distribution Network Operator in this table:
|Region Where You Live||Distribution Network Operator||Contact Number|
|North Scotland||Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks||0800 048 3515|
|Central and Southern Scotland||SP Energy Networks||0330 1010 300|
|North East England and Yorkshire||Northern Powergrid||0800 011 3332|
|North West England||Electricity North West||0800 195 4141|
|Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales & North Shropshire||SP Energy Networks||0330 1010 300|
|East Midlands & West Midlands||Western Power Distribution||0800 096 3080|
|South Wales & South West England||Western Power Distribution||0800 096 3080|
|London, South East England & Eastern England||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285|
|Southern England||Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks||0800 048 3516|
|Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland Electricity Networks||03457 643 643|
You can find your Gas Transporter in this table:
|Gas Transporter||Area||Contact Number|
|Cadent Gas||North West of England, West Midlands, East of England and North London||0800 389 8000|
|Northern Gas Networks||North East of England, Northern Cumbria, and much of Yorkshire||0800 040 7766|
|SGN||Scotland and Southern England||0800 912 1700|
|Wales & West Utilities||Wales and the South West of England||0800 912 2999|
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Will I lose my gas and electricity if my energy supplier goes bust?
This is by far the most common concern among energy consumers when they find that their energy supplier has ceased trading. And understandably so! None of us wants to be plunged into cold and darkness because of circumstances beyond our control. However, Ofgem has a safety net that ensures that your home will never be without energy. This includes finding a supplier of last resort and ensuring as seamless a transition as possible.
While things may not be *exactly* the same, you can at the very least be sure that your home will still have an energy and gas supply throughout the transition.
Should I cancel my direct debit if my supplier goes bust?
Your new supplier will contact you to set up a new direct debit, and your direct debit with your old supplier should automatically be cancelled. To be on the safe side, however, you may want to cancel your direct debit manually before setting up a new one with your new supplier.
I recently closed my account. Will I get back the credit I’m owed?
Yes, the supplier of last resort is responsible for paying back money that is due from closed accounts. Any energy that you have paid for but not used is automatically deducted from your account balance.
Is it safe to go with a smaller supplier?
When all’s said and done, the recent spate of smaller energy suppliers going under shouldn’t dissuade you from giving them a try. Yes, smaller suppliers are at a greater risk of going bust. But at the same time, the more willing consumers are to trust them and venture beyond the “Big 6”, the more competitive the market will become.
Smaller suppliers can offer greener energy at better rates. And even if they do go bust, your supply will be unaffected. The absolute worst case scenario is that you may have to spend a few weeks with the supplier of last resort before you choose someone who is better suited to your needs.
Updated on 7 Oct, 2021
Consumer Energy Expert