Utilita Energy has been appointed as the supplier of last resort for the customers of Eversmart Energy. Utilita took over supply for these customers with effect from 11 September.
Eversmart Energy has ceased trading and its customers will enter the ‘supplier of last resort’ process. Ofgem said the supplier had around 29,000 domestic customers and a small number of business customers. Creditor National Grid Gas had raised a petition to wind up the company in July, due to be heard on 26 September.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Eversmart is the 13th domestic energy company to collapse in the last two years. Our research shows this unlucky baker’s dozen of failed companies has left behind at least £172 million in unpaid costs. These will be picked up by other consumers through higher bills.
“We’re also concerned that some customers may have high credit balances. Eversmart had a tariff which encouraged people to pay for a year’s energy upfront. We raised our concerns with Ofgem, and it’s since been withdrawn. When a supplier goes bust, customer credit balances are protected. But all of us will eventually pay for honouring them through increased bills. These regulations provide vital protection for those affected. However, it was never expected that firms would actively encourage very large credit balances.”
Matthew Vickers, chief executive at the Energy Ombudsman, said, “We have seen a significant increase in complaints about Eversmart Energy, receiving four times as many complaints so far this year (225) as we did in the whole of last year (55). Billing and switching problems have been the main drivers of unresolved complaints about the company.”
He added, “As a not-for-profit ombudsman, we are funded by the case fees that energy companies pay to have complaints reviewed. In common with many other failed suppliers, Eversmart has ceased trading owing us a significant amount of money in unpaid case fees, increasing our exposure to bad debt.”