UK Centrica takes on customers of Peoples Energy (update)
(Adds details on Utility Point and other failures, final para.)
Centrica's energy retail arm British Gas has become the supplier of last resort (SOLR) for customers of People’s Energy (PE) a week after it ceased trading, the dominant utility said September 20. It said it had taken on the customers of two others earlier this month.
The company said it would ensure that PE's 350,00o households and 500 businesses continue to receive an uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity.
All costs that Centrica incurs that it cannot recover, such as additional energy procurement costs and the refund of credit balances, and other operating costs, will be recoverable through the established industry levy. But it said it would do all it can to minimise those costs.
PE was set up a few years ago and its website says it is "truly sad that we weren't able to make this community focused approach to energy supply work." However, the cost of bankruptcies has piled up for the remaining market participants. After PE was set up, the barriers for entry have been made a little harder.
Centrica said it welcomed PE's customers to British Gas and would ensure the switchover is as smooth as possible. It said, as "a responsible energy supplier built on a sustainable model, we are well hedged for the coming winter. We have now taken on the customers of four failed energy suppliers through Ofgem’s Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR) process in 2021."
Overall, Centrica has taken on five companies' customers under the SOLR process: Breeze Energy in 2019 was followed by PfP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy and Simplicity Energy earlier this year.
Separately, EDF Energy has take over the customers of Utility Point, the fourth such company which ceased trading at the same time as Peoples Energy.