Ampoweruk, Bluegreen Energy, Omni Energy and Zebra Power cease trading – here's what it means for your gas and electricity
Ampoweruk, Bluegreen Energy, Omni Energy and Zebra Power, which have over 27,000 household customers between them, have become the latest energy providers to cease trading - 17 domestic suppliers have gone bust since September. If you're affected, your supply will continue and credit balances are protected. While it's likely you'll pay more now, there are no savings to be had by switching.
Update: 12 November 2021: Energy regulator Ofgem has now appointed suppliers to take on the 27,000 household customers impacted by Ampoweruk, Bluegreen Energy, Omni Energy and Zebra Power going bust. Here's what's happening:
- Ampoweruk customers will be transferred to Yu Energy. Households will be moved onto its 'Protect Domestic Energy' tariff, which costs a typical dual fuel user paying by direct debit £1,255/yr. This is a variable tariff, so prices can go up or down.
- Bluegreen Energy and Zebra Power customers will be transferred to British Gas. These customers will be moved onto British Gas' standard variable tariff (SVT), which again can go up or down in price. It is currently at the level of Ofgem's price cap (£1,277/yr for typical users).
- Omni Energy customers will be transferred to Utilita. Households will be moved to Utilita's variable 'Smart Energy' tariff unless they're an economy 7 user in which case they will be moved to its 'Smart E7' tariff. Utilita says typical users will pay just under Ofgem's price cap on both tariffs, although bear in mind the majority of customers are prepaid users. Here, Ofgem's price cap for typical users is a higher £1,309/yr.
If you're affected, you will be contacted over the coming days. In the meantime, your supply will continue as normal and the info below on credit balances, debts, direct debits and switching still stands.
Households supplied by Ampoweruk (600 customers), Bluegreen Energy (5,900 customers), Omni Energy (6,000 customers) and Zebra Power (14,800 customers) will be transferred to a yet-to-be-announced new supplier. In the meantime, your supply will continue as normal and energy regulator Ofgem says any credit balances will be protected. Ofgem will now start the process of choosing a new supplier to take on the firms' customers.
Once appointed, you'll be contacted about transferring your account over, and be told what happens next. Once your account is transferred, you are free to switch away, though with prices at record highs due to unprecedented wholesale costs (the price energy providers pay for gas and electricity), even if you can switch there is nothing on the market meaningfully cheaper right now than Ofgem's price cap.
The news follows the failure of PFP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy, Utility Point, People's Energy, Avro Energy, Green Supplier Limited, Igloo Energy, Symbio Energy, Enstroga, Pure Planet, Colorado Energy, Daglias and Goto Energy which have all ceased trading since the start of September. We've analysis of the new deals customers of failed firms are being moved on to in our Energy firm gone bust? How your new deal compares story.
In total, about two million households have been affected by supplier failures since September, with more tipped to follow in what is an extreme time for the energy market.
A new provider will be appointed to take over your supply – sit tight and wait for it to contact you
If you're a customer of one of the four firms above that's ceased operating this week:
- You can't save by switching now anyway – but even if you could, you shouldn't. While possible, Ofgem says you should wait until you've been contacted by the new supplier in the coming weeks, as you could have issues with your switch otherwise. Plus, even then MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis has warned that you should "do nothing" with your energy supply and go on to the price cap when your deal ends as there's nothing cheaper available.
- Do take a meter reading. It'll be useful to have it ready for when your new supplier contacts you. You should do this whether you're a credit meter or prepayment customer.
- Download your energy bills / screenshot credit amounts. When a firm goes bust, websites can go offline, so head to the firm's website or app as soon as possible and grab the info now, so you have a record of it.
- When a new supplier's appointed, you'll be moved to a new deal – which will almost certainly cost more. Ofgem says it's likely your current deal will end and you'll be moved to a special 'deemed' contract (a tariff you won't have chosen). These tend to be at the price cap, so it's likely your bills will go up but as outlined above there's nothing cheaper to switch to right now.
While this may feel frustrating, remember if you'd never switched, this is the tariff you would have been on anyway, and at least up until now you've been on a far cheaper rate than is available – so overall you've gained, not lost.
Energy credit is protected even if you left the company recently – so you won't lose any money you're owed
You may be owed money by Ampoweruk, Bluegreen, Omni, or Zebra if your account had built up credit. In this scenario, the supplier Ofgem appoints will pay you back any money you're owed – this applies even if you'd already started to switch away before the firm went under. Here, the Ofgem-appointed supplier should get in touch to arrange a refund – even for those who won't have been switched to it – but this can take a while.
If you owe money, you will likely still have to pay it. Payments will either go to the bust supplier, its administrator or to the new supplier. The new supplier will let you know how this works once it has taken over.
If you are in the process of switching, your switch will still go through
If you've already started to switch away from one of the four firms, you will continue to be moved to the new supplier you have chosen. You should not need to do anything. Your direct debit to your current supplier should be cancelled automatically, but check anyway, and if not, cancel it manually after your switch completes. Any outstanding credit will be paid to you by the supplier Ofgem appoints – see above for more.
If you're in the process of switching to one of the four firms, the switch should go through as planned, although you will then be automatically switched to the new supplier Ofgem appoints.
You don't need to cancel your direct debit, but it's fine if you already have
There's no immediate need to cancel your direct debit. Ofgem says your new supplier will contact you soon to explain how it will take on your account, including any direct debit arrangements.
Ofgem says you can cancel your direct debit before the new supplier contacts you if you want to though. If you've already cancelled it, there's no need to reinstate it, and your new supplier will explain what to do once it gets in touch with you.
What does Ofgem say?
Ofgem director of retail Neil Lawrence said: "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. If you have credit on your account, the funds you have paid in are protected and you will not lose the money that is owed to you."
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