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Neon Reef and Social Energy Supply cease trading – here's what it means for your energy

Neon Reef and Social Energy Supply, which have over 35,000 household customers between them, have become the latest energy providers to cease trading – meaning 19 domestic energy 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.

Households supplied by Neon Reef (30,000 customers) and Social Energy Supply (5,500 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 17 other suppliers which have ceased trading since the start of September. In total, over 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 these firms:

  • You can't save by switching now anyway – but even if you could, you shouldn't. While switching is 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 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 right now.  

  • 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 Neon Reef or Social Energy Supply 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 Neon Reef or Social Energy Supply, 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 these 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.

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