Yet another small energy supplier in the UK has gone out of business, with Our Power’s closure affecting around 38,000 customers.
The Edinburgh-based firm became the eleventh energy supplier to cease trading in the last year. It is the second to close since the start of 2019 following the collapse of Economy Energy just under three weeks ago.
A statement on the company’s website said: “It is with great regret that Our Power Energy Supply Ltd has ceased to trade.”
Customers of Our Power have been told not to worry as their energy supply will continue as normal and any outstanding credit balances, including money owed to them, will be honoured. Customers who use repayment meters have also been told they can continue topping them up as usual.
Ofgem are now being tasked with finding a new supplier to take on Our Power’s customers. But the energy regulator has warned people affected to wait until a new supplier is found before switching energy companies.
“Our message to energy customers with Our Power 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,” said Philippa Pickford, director of future retail markets at Ofgem. “Ofgem will now choose a new supplier for you, ensuring you get the best deal possible. Whilst we’re doing this, our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.”
In order to make the transition to a new supplier as quick and easy as possible, customers have been advised to take meter readings to have at hand once they are contacted by their new provider. Customers’ current contracts will end once the switch is made and they will be automatically placed on the new supplier’s ‘deemed tariff’, which are usually more expensive and therefore customers have been advised to switch at this point.
Our Power was set up as a not-for-profit energy supplier in 2016, with a £6m backing from the Scottish government. It was intended to offer affordable energy tariffs to lower income households at risk of living in fuel poverty.
The high number of relatively new energy suppliers to go out of business in the last year is partly due to rising wholesale costs in the industry. But it has led to criticism from existing companies about the opening up of the market. It has been claimed that entering the industry is now too easy for new suppliers, many of whom have unsustainable business models. However, companies wishing to enter the market in the future will likely be met with stricter entry requirements from Ofgem and will have to prove they have enough capital to sustain themselves for at least a year.