GB energy crisis – three more suppliers go under

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Three more small British independent suppliers have announced cessation of trading impacting 233,000 customers.

After a week of comparative calm in the market, ENSTROGA, Igloo Energy and Symbio Energy are now shutting their doors – following the six that have done so in the space of two weeks earlier in the month.

ENSTROGA has around 6,000 domestic customers, Igloo Energy has around 179,000 domestic customers and Symbio Energy has around 48,000 domestic customers and a small number of non-domestic customers.

While representing less than 1% of domestic customers in the market, their number nevertheless adds to those impacted with the earlier closures to bring the total to over 1.7 million during September.

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Under the regulator Ofgem’s ‘safety net’, the energy supply to the customers continues and their account credit balances are protected as they are allocated to another supplier, with whom they have the option to remain or switch on to another.

As yet new suppliers for these customers are to be appointed. Customers from the last two closures of Avro Energy were appointed to Octopus Energy and of Green Supplier Ltd to Shell Energy.

Notably, Igloo Energy and Symbio Energy were among five suppliers that were in receipt of provisional orders from Ofgem for failing to make their feed-in tariff obligation payments by the September 17 deadline and which presumably precipitated their demise.

The scheme is administered by Ofgem and provides payments to owners of small-scale renewable energy generators. A supplier that fails to pay by the deadline is in breach of its supply licence rules and may also face a fine or revocation of the licence.

Igloo Energy was required to pay £316,582.44 (approx. $425,200) and Symbio Energy £146,238.66 (approx. $196,400).

Whether one or other of the companies was unable to make the payment or the making of it was the cause of failure has not been specified.

Since the last comments on the gas supply issue from the government previously quoted, none further have been forthcoming with the focus more on goings-on petrol station forecourts with apparent shortages leading to public panic buying.

As of writing the gas price is still high and is yet to show sign a downturn, which could relieve any other suppliers on the brink.

Small modular nuclear

Meanwhile, as conversations consider options to avoid a future issue of this nature, the potential for small modular nuclear reactors is coming to the fore, with reports emerging that the government is considering putting more money into their development.

The government as part of its green plan put £215 million ($289 million) into small modular reactor development in November 2020, with Rolls-Royce leading the UK SMR consortium. A design for a 470MW system was released in May with the prospect of going into regulatory assessment during this Autumn, which would keep the initiative on track to complete the first unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035, the Consortium has reported.