Orbit becomes latest UK energy supplier to go bust

The Guardian - Thu Nov 25 15:29

Another UK energy supplier has gone bust, following the collapse of Bulb earlier this week, bringing the number of households affected by a supplier failure closer to the 4m mark.

Orbit Energy confirmed it was the latest casualty of the energy market crisis, bringing the total number of suppliers that have failed to 24 in fewer than 12 weeks, as companies unable to withstand higher wholesale prices go under.

The latest collapse was announced by the energy regulator Ofgem in a tweet that also named Entice Energy – but the post was later deleted. A spokesperson for Entice could not be reached for comment.

An Ofgem spokesperson said the tweet was sent in error.

However, Orbit later updated its website to say it was ceasing to trade.

It added: “Ofgem, the energy regulator, is appointing a new supplier for its customers. Customers need not worry, their supplies are secure and funds that domestic customers have paid into their accounts will be protected if they are in credit.”

The latest collapse comes after Bulb on Monday became the largest UK energy supplier to go bust, and on Thursday morning was handed to a special administrator that will continue to supply its 1.7 million customers over the winter.

The Treasury has set aside up to £1.7bn of public money to pay for Bulb’s costs amid record high energy market prices until the special administration process comes to an end.

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Ofgem can typically find a new company to take on the customers left behind within days. But the size of Bulb’s customer base means it is likely to face a complex and months-long process to determine the fate of its customers.

Orbit and Entice were both warned by Ofgem earlier this month that they could lose their supplier licences if they failed to pay back the money collected from their customer energy bills, which was earmarked to support small-scale renewable energy schemes such as rooftop solar installations.

Orbit owed £451,296 taken from its customer energy bills to support the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, while Entice owed the regulator £28,353 to help support small-scale renewables.