Energy firm Solarplicity goes bust: what customers should do
Customers’ energy supply will continue, and prepayment meters can be topped up as normal, Ofgem confirmed.
The regulator will choose a new supplier to take on the failed firm’s customers.
News of the supplier’s demise comes weeks after 43,000 of its 60,000 customers were transferred to Toto Energy following customer service issues.
In February, Ofgem banned Solarplicity from taking on new customers for three months due to complaints about customer service and poor switching processes. The supplier was also banned from increasing vulnerable customers’ direct debits.
The ban was lifted, but Solarplicity agreed not to take on any new customers until 5 August.
Today, the Energy Ombudsman said it had received 3,324 complaints about Solarplicity so far this year, including 583 in July alone.
Philippa Pickford, Ofgem’s director for future retail markets, said: “Solarplicity customers do not need to worry, as under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies are secure and domestic customers’ credit balances are protected.”
What Solarplicity customers should do
Ofgem advises customers to take their meter readings today and wait until the new supplier contacts them.
You can ask to be put on the new supplier’s cheapest deal or shop around for a better deal from another supplier. You won’t be charged exit fees for switching away from the new supplier.
If you are a non-smart prepayment meter customer, you can continue to use your top-up devices until they are replaced by the new supplier.
If you have a smart prepayment meter, you will be able to top up your meter with Solarplicity for a short while. If required, Solarplicity will then send an electronic message to your meter to turn it into credit mode. This will enable you to take a continual supply without the need to top up.
Once a new supplier has been appointed, they will be in contact with you to discuss whether you want to take your supply with them through a prepayment tariff and they will set this up for you.
Tougher rules for new suppliers
Last month, Ofgem introduced tighter rules for new suppliers entering the market, following the collapse of several small firms.
Companies now have to pass tougher tests to get a licence to supply energy. They also need to demonstrate they can adequately fund their operations for their first year, outline how they expect to comply with regulatory obligations, and show their intentions to provide a proper level of customer service.
The past 18 months have seen several small energy suppliers including Brilliant Energy, Economy Energy, Spark Energy, Extra Energy, and Iresa Energy go out of business.