Former Spark Energy Customers to be Switched to Ovo

Ovo Energy will take on nearly 300,000 customers after Spark Energy ceased trading last week. 

The firm ceased trading after failing to pay a bill of £14 million due to Ofgem following non-repayment of its RPO (renewable power obligation).

Energy regulator Ofgem has now approved the takeover of Spark Energy Supply Ltd by the larger Ovo Energy. Ofgem executive director Mary Starks has assured customers that their supply will continue as normal at the same price.

She explained that customers’ credit balances will also be honoured, and their energy supply will be uninterrupted. Ovo will also not charge exit fees and so ex-Spark Energy customers will be able to shop around once the transfer has been completed.

Despite ranking above all the Big Six providers in the 2014 Which? Switch energy satisfaction survey, the firm tumbled down the rankings before coming in 30th out of the 31 providers in the 2017 survey.

The company’s focus on tenants and lettings agents made it open to complaints, and it suffered with its public image after a 2015 scandal in which they were fined by Ofgem.

Since Spark Energy ceased trading, the future of its employees has been raised as a concern. The firm employs more than 300 staff at the headquarters in the border town of Selkirk. Spark Energy also has an operations department and teams in both Edinburgh and Horsham. Ovo has said that it plans to keep these departments on.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said his priority was to “do everything possible” to keep Spark Energy’s ex-employees in work.

Speaking to the BBC, he explained: “The significance of the Spark workforce to the Selkirk and wider Borders area is huge,

“That is why the Scottish government has been working tirelessly with Spark Energy and others in recent weeks to try to find the best resolution possible, during a period of great worry and uncertainty for those workers and their families.

“I am hopeful that this outcome will mean the retention of the vast majority of the jobs.

“I will continue to do all I can to safeguard those jobs and will be looking to engage with Ovo Energy at the earliest opportunity.”

In the past few years the Big Six energy suppliers have been losing customers consistently, as many customers have chosen to switch to smaller suppliers in the search for cheaper energy rates.

Since the gas and electricity supply markets became open to competition there were a total of 73 suppliers, as of June this year.

However, 6 smaller companies and rival firms Extra Energy, Future Energy, National Gas and Power, Iresa Energy, Gen4U and Usio Energy have all ceased trading in 2018.

 

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