Mid-sized supplier Utilita Energy has been appointed to take on the 29,000 domestic customers and handful of business customers left stranded by the collapse of Eversmart Energy last week.
Eversmart Energy became the sixth supplier to fold this year, following a surge of customer complaints and difficulties paying green energy obligations.
Eversmart Energy’s usual pricing structure, specifically its controversial Family Saver Club tariff, which required customers to pay for a year’s worth of energy upfront, means many customers abandoned by the supplier have significant credit balances.
Those will all be honoured, Ofgem confirmed.
Philippa Pickford, Ofgem’s Director for Future Retail Markets said: “I am pleased to announce we have appointed Utilita Energy for the customers of Eversmart Energy. Their energy supply will continue as normal and domestic credit balances will be honoured.
“Utilita Energy will be in contact with customers over the coming days with further information. Once it’s been completed, customers can shop around for a better deal if they wish to.”
The addition of Eversmart’s accounts will take Utilita’s rolls to around 800,000, making it one of the largest suppliers outside of the Big Six.
Earlier this year Utilita also took on the 31,000 domestic customers previously served by the collapsed supplier Our Power.
Eversmart Energy has become one of more than a dozen small suppliers to drop out of the market since the beginning of 2018. These failed suppliers often leave behind unpaid industry bills and customer credit, costs which are ultimately spread across all consumers’ energy bills.
Citizens Advice had previously raised concerns about Eversmart’s practice of having customers accrue substantial credit balances and warned there would be “serious implications” if the practice became widespread in the industry and if these suppliers went bust.
Following Eversmart’s collapse, the charity’s chief executive Gillian Guy called on Ofgem to scrutinise practices that lead to huge credit balances.
“When a supplier goes bust, customer credit balances are protected but all of us will eventually pay for honouring them through increased bills,” she said.
“These regulations provide vital protection for those affected. However, it was never expected that firms would actively encourage very large credit balances. Ofgem needs to act to reduce the cost of supplier failures and protect customers.”
Meanwhile, the Energy Ombudsman said it had recorded an uptick in complaints about Eversmart Energy, receiving four times as many this year than it received about the supplier in the entirety of last year.
“Billing and switching problems have been the main drivers of unresolved complaints about the company,” Energy Ombudsman chief executive Matthew Vickers said.
He also said the service was receiving increasing numbers of complaints about small suppliers And the Ombudsman itself had lost a significant amount of money owed to it by suppliers which exited the market.
If you had a tariff with Eversmart, you should take meter readings as soon as possible, and once you’ve received notification that your switch has been completed, head over to our energy comparison page and see if you can find a better tariff.