Spark Energy has announced that it has stopped trading becoming the 6th small energy supplier to do so in 2018.
Spark Energy is a small supplier with just 290,000 domestic customers. The company has blamed “increasingly tough trading conditions in the energy industry” for their collapse, but The Energy Ombudsman has said this week that it has open investigations into over 800 consumer complaints about Spark Energy all received in the past year.
If You’re a Spark Energy Customer…
If you’re a Spark Energy customer, don’t panic! Your energy supply will continue without interruption and any credit in your account is protected.
Spark Energy customers will now be transferred over to Ovo Energy which has been appointed by Ofgem to take on Spark Energy’s customers, branding and operating company. This means customers will continue to be billed by Spark and deal with Spark’s customer service staff and energy supplies will continue without interruption.
Ofgem’s advice to Spark Energy customers is:
- Do not switch to another energy supplier at this stage. Ofgem says you’ll be contacted by Ovo Energy in the next few days, at which point you’re free to switch to another supplier; you won’t be charged exit fees.
- Take a meter reading, ready for when Ovo Energy contacts you.
- You’ll stay on the same tariff as you’re on now.
- If you have a Direct Debit with Spark Energy your new supplier should be able to automatically move your direct debit over, however you’re free to cancel your direct debit before the new supplier contacts you and then set up a new one once the new supplier has contacted you.
Mary Starks, Ofgem’s executive director for consumers and markets, said: “Our message to energy customers with Spark is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected.
“Although we have seen a number of supplier failures this year, our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”
If you need any further support, Spark Energy has advised customers to contact Ofgem or call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.
What Does this Mean for the Future of Small Energy Suppliers?
Spark Energy is not only the 6th small energy supplier to go under this year, but it’s also the largest so far. The announcement comes just 2 days after Extra Energy (another small energy supplier with 108,000 customers) also confirmed it was ceasing trading. Iresa Energy (90,000 customers) closed in July and Future Energy (10,000 customers), Usio Energy (7,000 customers) and Gen4U (500 customers) all closed in January 2018.
As of this week Ofgem has proposed that new energy suppliers should have to pass financial and customer service tests before being given a licence to operate. Companies would have to demonstrate they have adequate financial resources and can meet their customer service obligations.