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GB Energy collapses: what customers should do now

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
28/11/2016
Over the weekend, it emerged that independent energy provider, GB Energy, had ceased trading. Here’s what worried customers need to know.

Small energy provider GB Energy, which had 160,000 customers, has ceased trading, citing increased wholesale prices.

It’s rare for an energy provider to go out of business, but when it does, there should be no disruption to your supply, according to the regulator Ofgem.

 

Our Q&A explains what GB Energy customers should do:

What should I do and what happens next?

The first thing to do is to take down a meter reading. Ofgem will now look to appoint a new energy supplier “which will best protect the interests of GB Energy supply customers”, though it added that it’s “likely” users will pay more with their new provider.

Why will my bills be more expensive?

This is because the new supplier will put customers onto a special ‘deemed’ contract – one you haven’t chosen – which is usually more expensive than an existing contract as the new provider takes on more risk as they haven’t done all the usual background credit checks, so they charge more.

However, it advises customers that once they’re switched over to the new supplier, they shop around to get the best deal, whether it’s with the new provider or an alternative.

I’m in credit with GB Energy, will I get my money back?

Ofgem said your new supplier will contact you to explain how this will work. The new supplier may for example automatically credit money to your new account with them.

I’m in debt with GB Energy, do I have to pay the money back?

Ofgem said you won’t need to pay back debt to your new supplier. However, you may have to continue to pay this back to GB Energy. Once your new supplier has contacted you, it will be able to give you more information.

Will I have to pay exit penalties for breaking the contract early?

No, you won’t be charged any exit fees when moving over to the new supplier.

What does GB Energy say?

On a post on the website, Luke Watson, managing director of GB Energy, said: “Due to swift and significant increases in energy prices over recent months and, as a small supplier our inability to forward buy energy to allow us to access the best possible wholesale prices, means that the position of the business has become untenable and as such we will now be entering a process overseen by Ofgem to move you to a new supplier.”

He said customers will want to contact the call centre to discuss their account but he asked that they “refrain from doing so at this time” as the firm will contact customers directly.

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