BP's decision to pull plug on Pure Planet may be gloomiest energy news yet

An announcement from Ofgem that Pure Planet has failed is expected any day.

The looming collapse of the energy provider Pure Planet is probably the most significant failure we've seen so far in the crisis caused by soaring gas prices - because it reflects a judgement by the biggest UK player in energy, BP, that gas prices are very unlikely to fall back to earth any time soon.

The point is that BP supplies gas and power to Pure Planet, which has a couple of hundred thousand customers. BP also in effect finances Pure Planet because it is owed considerable sums in unpaid bills - and the oil and gas giant owns 24% of it.

My sources tell me BP has concluded that Pure Planet will not be a viable business any time soon and has withdrawn its credit. In other words, BP has concluded that if it keeps Pure Planet afloat, its losses will only deepen. Better, thinks BP, to let Pure Planet fail and incur the lesser hit now.

This leaves Pure Planet high and dry. The regulator, Ofgem, has been informed.

An announcement from Ofgem that Pure Planet has failed and that its customers will be transferred to another energy provider is expected any day.

This growing realisation in the industry that gas prices are likely to remain high for weeks and months means other failures are almost inevitable.

Around a dozen energy retailers have collapsed since the summer, and a further seven to 10 companies are said to be at imminent risk of failure.

The next big crunch point will be at the end of this month, when energy retailers have to transfer money into a so-called buyout fund if they've been unable to source as much electricity from renewables as they are obliged to do. This is expected to crystallise for a number of retailers that they are fundamentally unviable, because they lack cash and working capital. Several may cease trading.

The growing number of failures is adding very considerably to all our bills, because these renewables short falls, plus the £600 costs per customer of finding new homes for the clients of failed companies, are mutualised, under the regulator's rules. That means these substantial costs are added to all our bills.

These costs relating to corporate collapses come on top of the expected rise of several hundred pounds next spring in the capped tariff we all pay for energy.

The rise in energy costs for consumers is only one aspect of an escalating and broadening cost-of-living crisis and a burgeoning industrial crisis.