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E.On appointed to take on 233,000 customers hit by latest collapse of energy firms

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Household energy supplier E.On has been appointed to take on 233,000 customers affected by the latest collapse of smaller rivals.

Regulator Ofgem has announced that the firm, one of Britain’s biggest suppliers, will now supply gas and electricity to households that had previously signed up to ENSTROGA, Igloo Energy and Symbio Energy.

The three companies, which ceased trading last week, were the latest to fall victim to a surge in wholesale costs – and brought to nine the total that failed in September alone.

Headquarters of E.ON
Image: E.ON Next has around 5.2 million residential customers

Igloo, the biggest of the three collapsed firms, had 179,000 customers on its books while Symbio had 48,000 and ENSTROGA 6,000.

They are moving over to German-owned E.On Next, the new brand which combines customers from E.On and the old Npower business which was taken over by E.On.

Neil Lawrence, Ofgem’s director of retail, said of the latest announcement affecting Igloo, Symbio and ENSTROGA users: “We understand that this news may be unsettling for customers, however they do not need to worry.

“Their energy supply will continue as normal, and customer credit balances will be honoured. “

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Ofgem said customers of all three suppliers would be contacted over the coming days about the changes.

It said they can shop around for a better deal but were advised to wait until the transfer has been completed.

They will not be charged exit fees if they decide to switch to another supplier.

E.On UK chief executive Michael Lewis said: “We’ll be working closely with their previous supplier so they have a smooth transition and there’s no interruption to their energy supply.

“We’ll also be making sure customers with a credit balance on their account aren’t left out of pocket.”

The surge in wholesale prices that has hit smaller suppliers has been blamed on a complex web of factors including high competition for gas across Europe to bolster weak stocks and poor wind power provision.

Small firms’ business models leave them less able to hedge against such increases and they are unable to pass on the hikes, in many cases, because of the energy price cap set by the watchdog currently covering 15 million households.

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Energy boss: It’s ‘crunch time’ for many small providers

Previously, Octopus Energy and Shell Energy Retail were handed the customers of Avro Energy and Green Supplier respectively following their collapses.

Last week, Sky News revealed that the energy regulator has put advisers at Teneo on standby for the emergency rescue of a major supplier amid the crisis which has engulfed the sector.

The latest announcement from Ofgem comes as it emerges that Ovo Energy will this week table a takeover offer for rival Bulb in a bid to create the second-largest supplier in Britain’s crisis-hit energy market.

A deal would add Bulb’s 1.7 million customers to Ovo’s 4.5 million households, creating the number two player behind Centrica’s British Gas, which has 7 million.

E.ON Next has around 5.2 million residential customers.