The disaster has stricken again as another small energy firm Future Energy goes out of action. The gas and electricity supplier with around 10,000 customers in the north east and Yorkshire has stopped trading as announced by Ofgem today. This is another case of a small energy supplier in UK going out of business. It just raises the question whether customers should choose small or medium energy suppliers or not.
Energy regulator Ofgem comes to the rescue of the 10K customers who buy cheap electricity and gas from Future Energy. Ofgem asks the customers to have patience and assures that it would allocate a stable energy supplier for them within the next two-three days. The best part is that Ofgem’s safety net scheme helps the customers to get uninterrupted energy supplies. Hence, customers of Future Energy need not panic.
In the meanwhile, customers are asked to not switch energy supplier to facilitate the process of handing customers over to a new supplier, and honoring credit balances, is as hassle free for customers as possible. Customers of Future Energy should stay intact as their credit balances would be safe and carried forward to the new supplier. Ofgem also advices the customers to take current meter reading to avoid any discrepancies, that may occur with the new supplier.
One more thing to note is that if the customers make an energy swap to another supplier, they would lose out on the credit balance, if any. In addition, if they are not happy with the new supplier allotted by Ofgem then they are free to shop around and switch to cheaper energy supplier. In this case, they don’t have to pay any exit fees.
Rob Salter-Church, senior authority at Ofgem gave a statement for the customers saying that “If you are a customer of Future Energy there is no need to worry as we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected. Ofgem is working to choose a new supplier as quickly as possible for you. Whilst we’re doing this, our advice is to sit tight and don’t switch. You can continue to rely on your energy supply as normal – in fact the only thing that will change is that you’ll get a new supplier.”
Victoria MacGregor, Director of Energy at Citizen’s Advice also declared that “Future Energy customers’ gas and electricity will continue as normal – so they’ll still be able to heat and light their homes. The energy regulator Ofgem is finding a new supplier for Future Energy customers. The new supplier will contact customers in due course. It’s important these customers sit tight and wait for Ofgem to organise the new supplier. Switching to another energy company at this stage could mean they don’t get any refunds they may be entitled to. In the meantime, customers will need to take a reading of their gas and electricity meters for their new supplier.”
Amidst all the happenings, it becomes inevitable to think whether energy customers should choose small energy suppliers or not. While the positive side is that these companies offer cheaper energy deals, the flip side is that they may go kaput any day. This is not the first case where a small energy supplier has dropped the guns as GB Energy went debunked in 2016 leaving its 160,000 customers to be rescued by Ofgem. It was replaced by Co-operative Energy within three days.
Speaking on the matter Shay Ramani, the founder of FreePriceCompare said that “While smaller energy suppliers are the best bet for cheapest energy deals, such incidences create a stir in the energy market. A company going bust is a sign that energy market needs to reform to facilitate smaller suppliers. In addition, Ofgem has a great role to play in regulating the energy market and ensures that all is well for the customers. The customers of Future Energy should rely on Ofgem’s decision unless they find a very strong reason to switch to cheaper energy supplier.”
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