Energy supplier Solarplicity has ceased trading, becoming the 12th energy supplier to close its doors in the last two years. After selling most of its customers to Toto (see below) the energy supplier had only around 7,500 domestic customers and fewer than 500 business customers, according to Ofgem. Those customers will be transferred under the ‘supplier of last resort’ measure. Customers transferred to Toto will be unaffected.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Solarplicity is the 12th domestic energy company to collapse in the last two years. Our research shows these failed companies left behind £172 million in unpaid industry costs, which will likely be picked up by other consumers through higher bills.
“The collapse of these firms revealed a major gap in consumer protections. The administrators of failed firms have not been subject to the same debt collection rules as energy suppliers. The government must take action and fix this problem.”
Toto Energy, which started up just three years ago, acquired most of Solarplicity’s customers at the end of July.
The company said, “Toto Energy’s acquisition of the majority of Solarplicity’s customer base reinforces our strategic vision to become one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers.”
Toto told New Power, “Unfortunately, we were unable to transfer the contracts of commercial customers as we are not able to serve these businesses at this time, and for a small portion of retail customers, we could not transfer due to a verity of reasons, although we would have liked to welcome them all. Approximately 43,000 customers will transition to Toto Energy and we will contact all these households within the next seven days to welcome them to their new supplier and to reassure them they will have continuous service provision. All these customers will remain on their existing energy tariffs or be offered enhanced terms as a result of this transaction.”
In Stoke on Trent, where Solarplicity runs a community energy scheme that includes installing PV panels on around 5,700 properties, Toto said “we have partnered with Solarplicity and Toto Energy will become the grid energy supplier while Solarplicity (via RAC Limited) remain the PV solar energy supplier.”
Solarplicity was briefly banned by Ofgem from taking on new customers in February, until it made service improvements. Ofgem did not confirm that order, but on 10 July it consulted on plans to confirm an order to the company to make overdue payments in respect of feed-in tariffs. The provisional order required Solarplicity to:
- Pay outstanding money owed to FIT generators by 16 May 2019
- Make all future FIT payments that become due to FIT generators, by the relevant due dates
- Not give preference to pay any FIT generator connected in any way to Solarplicity
- Report back to Ofgem on the progress of the actions set out in the provisional order.
Solarplicity told its customers, “Not all customers are being transferred. If you don’t hear from Toto you will continue to be supplied by Solarplicity on your existing terms and conditions. The rest of the Solarplicity Group will continue to do what it has always done best – provide innovative renewable technology to cut the cost of energy for local authority and housing association tenants.”
The company’s accounts are currently listed as overdue and five of Solarplicity-related companies were listed on the Companies Court Winding Up List on 24 July.