Which energy suppliers have gone bust and what to do if yours does

Gas prices surging in the UK Credit: Pexels/Gary Barnes

The recent surge in wholesale gas prices has now helped put a staggering 29 suppliers out of business.

It means it will be harder for the poorest families to pay their bills this winter and there are warnings that the high prices are here to stay for the long term.

Together Energy Retail, which supplies 176,000 households, has become the latest company to collapse - but it is small compared to some. Other collapsed rivals include Bulb Energy, Britain's seventh biggest supplier with 1.7 million customers.

The rise in gas prices has been attributed to a number of factors, including a cold winter which left stocks depleted, high demand for liquefied natural gas from Asia and a reduction in supplies from Russia.

Boris Johnson has blamed the emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic.

With a number of energy companies continuing to fold amid the crisis in the UK, what does it mean for the customers of those suppliers?

Which energy suppliers have gone bust in 2021 and 2022?

  • Simplicity Energy - January 27, 2021 - its 50,000 domestic customers were taken over by British Gas Evolve.

  • Green Network Energy - January 27, 2021 - its 360,000 domestic and non-domestic customers were taken over by EDF.

  • Hub Energy - August 9, 2021 - E.ON Next took over the company's 15,000 domestic and non-domestic customers.

  • MoneyPlus Energy - September 7, 2021 - its 9,000 domestic customers have been transferred to British Gas.

  • PFP Energy - September 7, 2021 - The supplier's 87,600 domestic and non-domestic customers have also been taken over by British Gas.

  • Utility Point - September 14, 2021 - its 220,000 domestic customers have been transferred to EDF.

  • People's Energy - September 14, 2021 - British Gas has also taken over the company's 351,000 domestic and non-domestic customers.

  • Green Supplier Limited - September 22, 2021 - Shell Energy has taken on 255,000 former domestic and non-domestic customers.

  • Avro Energy - September 22, 2021 - Octopus Energy has taken on Avro’s 580,000 domestic customers.

  • Enstroga - September 29, 2021 - The company's 6,000 domestic customers have also moved to E.ON Next.

  • Igloo Energy - September 29, 2021 - its 179,000 domestic customers have been moved to E.ON Next.

  • Symbio Energy - September 29, 2021 - E.ON Next has also picked up Symbio Energy's 48,000 domestic customers.

  • Colorado Energy - October 13, 2021 - The company's 15,000 domestic customers have been moved to Shell Energy.

  • Pure Planet - October 13, 2021 - Shell Energy has taken on the supplier's 235,000 domestic customers.

  • Daligas - October 14, 2021 - The supplier's 9,000 domestic and non-domestic customers have been moved to Shell Energy.

  • GOTO Energy - October 18, 2021 - Its former 22,000 domestic customers have again been picked up by Shell Energy.

  • Bluegreen Energy Services - November 1, 2021 - British Gas has taken on its 5,900 domestic and non-domestic customers.

  • Ampoweruk Ltd - November 2, 2021 - Yü Energy has taken on the firm's 2,600 domestic and non-domestic customers.

  • Omni Energy Limited - November 2, 2021 - The company's 6,000 domestic customers have been moved to Utilita.

  • MA Energy Limited - November 2, 2021 - The company's 300 non-domestic customers have been transferred to SmartestEnergy.

  • Zebra power Limited - November 2, 2021- British Gas has taken on its 14,800 domestic customers.

  • CNG Energy Limited - November 3, 2021 - The supplier's 41,000 non-domestic customers have been moved to Pozitive Energy.

  • Social Energy Supply Limited - November 16, 2021 - Its 5,500 domestic customers have also been transferred to British Gas.

  • Neon Reef Limited - November 16, 2021 - British Gas has also taken on the supplier's 5,500 domestic customers.

  • Bulb - November 22, 2021 - The company was put into special administration on November 24, but will continue to supply its 1.7 million domestic and non-domestic customers as normal.

  • Orbit Energy Limited - November 25, 2021 - From December 1, Scottish Power will take on its 65,000 domestic customers.

  • Entice Energy - November 25, 2021 - Again, from December 1, its 5,400 domestic customers will be transferred to Scottish Power.

  • Zog Energy - December 1, 2021 - Ofgem said the company's 11,700 customers will be transferred to a new supplier, which has not yet been confirmed.

  • Together Energy Retail- January 18, 2022 - The energy company, which supplies 176,000 households, and its subsidiary Bristol Energy, will be moved to a new supplier chosen by Ofgem. Customers and their balances will be protected.

Why aren't Bulb's customers being moved to another energy supplier?

Bulb will become the first energy firm to be placed into "special administration", where it is run by the government through the regulator Ofgem.

The process is designed to protect customers when a large energy supplier can no longer trade.

The regulator had previously dealt with collapsed energy suppliers through its supplier-of-last-resort process, which simply moved thousands of customers from the failed company to another supplier.

But this process has never dealt with a company as big as Bulb, previously the largest supplier to have collapsed was Avro Energy, which had 580,000 customers.

Ofgem could struggle to find another company to take over Bulb's 1.7 million customers.

Instead, the regulator is to find an administrator for Bulb, which will continue to run the company until it can be sold off, the customers will then join another supplier, or it can be restructured.

Under the scheme’s rules, the business secretary can give or loan money to Bulb.

In the meantime, customers have been advised not to take any action and they will be contacted when any steps are needed.

A Bulb company statement said it will continue to operate with no interruption of service or supply to members.

What should you do if your energy supplier goes bust?

Ofgem has advised customers to take a meter reading and not to switch suppliers immediately as the energy watchdog will eventually move you to a new supplier.

This way, your new supplier can tell you what to do about any credit balances you might have had with your old supplier. But you may cancel your direct debit if you want to.

In the transition period where you may not have a supplier, your supply will not be disrupted and you will still have electricity and gas in your home.

Ofgem will update you once your new supplier has been appointed. Your new supplier will then contact you, and you should ask to be put on its cheapest tariff. If you are not happy with the new deal, you can then shop around. You will not be charged exit fees.

Your new supplier will also explain how they will manage your account balance, including any credit refunds. If your previous energy supplier owes you money, your money is protected and you should get it back.

Energy prices could rise by 30% next year. Credit: PA

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis told ITV that it could be a "pain in the backside" to get back credit from providers which have folded but that "it will happen eventually".

Ofgem director of retail Neil Lawrence said: “Ofgem’s number one priority is to protect customers. We know this is a worrying time for many people and news of a supplier going out of business can be unsettling.

“I want to reassure affected customers that they do not need to worry, under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue."

“Any customer concerned about paying their energy bill should contact their supplier to access the range of support that is available,” he added.

Businesses' credit balances are not protected under Ofgem's safety net. What should they do?

Business customers should contact the company’s administrator to ask them what to do about their credit balances.

Will your bills go up?Probably, especially if you were on a cheap deal that was not run in a sustainable way.

Your new supplier will initially put you on a specially 'deemed' contract, which means a contract you haven't chosen.

Deemed contracts can be more expensive because the supplier takes on more risk. For example, they might have to buy extra wholesale energy at short notice.

However, you can switch to a cheaper rate once your supplier contacts you.

In September, Boris Johnson said families will not struggle this winter because energy issues are 'short term'

Will the credit balance from your old supplier be protected if you are switching supplier already?

Once you have switched, your direct debit with your old supplier should be cancelled. If it hasn't been cancelled, you may need to close it off yourself.

Ofgem says it will look to appoint a supplier who will pay back money owed to you.

Will you still need to pay back debt you owed to your old supplier?It depends on the agreement between your old and new supplier.

You may have to continue to pay your debt to your old supplier or their administrator, or you may have to pay your debt to your new supplier if that arrangement has been made.

Credit: PA

How do energy suppliers work in the UK?

Supplying energy to homes involves three steps: generating the electricity, transporting the gas and electricity and selling it to customers. Energy companies can work in any of these stages.

In the UK, private companies make sure we have the electricity and gas markets that we need.

Electricity is generated in power stations, which are run by private companies.

It is then transported through the electricity network run by National Grid.

Suppliers buy energy in the wholesale market and sell it on to customers.