Together Energy has become the 27th supplier to go bust in twelve months amid surging gas prices which are set to hit households with a 50 per cent increase in bills this year.
The company, which is part-owned by Warrington Council, announced on Tuesday it would cease trading. Its 176,000 customers will be transferred to a new gas and electricity provider under energy regulator Ofgem's supplier of last resort process.
Customers will not see an interruption to their supply and any credit balances will transfer to a new supplier.
Together's collapse comes after it deferred a £12.4m payment due to Ofgem in October. A second deadline for the payment is approaching on 22 January, forcing Together to call in administrators.
The company is the latest council-run energy supplier to cease trading. A number of local authorities sought to plug holes in their finances by making investments in energy, commercial property and other assets.
Nottingham City Council's Robin Hood Energy went into administration in January last year.
Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy for Citizens Advice, said: “Together Energy is the 27th energy supplier to have collapsed since August. As well as causing considerable disruption and confusion for customers, today's announcement will add to the £2.6bn bill consumers are already facing due to these failures.
“With the price cap expected to go up again in April and the cost of living soaring, many are already facing impossible choices between heating and eating. The government must spread the cost of supplier failures so people aren’t left to foot a sky-high bill for chaos in the energy market, just as prices rise. It should also provide a one-off payment to people through the benefits system this April for those who need the most support.”
Neil Lawrence, Director of Retail at Ofgem, 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. Ofgem will choose a new supplier for you and while we are doing this our advice is to wait until we appoint a new supplier and do not switch in the meantime.
“You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your tariff.
“Any customer concerned about paying their energy bill should contact their supplier to access the range of support that is available."
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