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Ofgem issues final order to three suppliers for £15m in unpaid subsidy dues

Image: Robin Hood.

Image: Robin Hood.

Ofgem has issued final orders to three energy suppliers for failing to pay £15 million in Renewables Obligation (RO) and Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments.

Nabuh Energy Limited, Robin Hood Energy Limited and Symbio Energy Limited all failed to pay into the buy out fund or present the required number of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) by the initial deadlines of 31 August and 1 September 2020. They are now also expected to miss the late payment deadline of 31 October, having given the regulator no assurances of their ability to meet it.

Robin Hood Energy – which owes by far the greatest share of the late missed payments with a £12,057,879.42 RO debt – also owes £33,945.51 in FiT payments. Nabuh Energy owes £2,683,631.70 and Symbio £506,308 in RO debt.

Ofgem has warned that should the suppliers fail to pay the amount owed plus interest by 31 October, it will take appropriate enforcement action that could result in the supplier's licences being revoked.

“The Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariff schemes provide vital support to renewable electricity generators and play an important role in Great Britain’s journey to a greener, fairer, energy system,” said Cathryn Scott, Ofgem’s director of Enforcement and Emerging Issues.

“This enforcement action shows that we will take robust action if suppliers undermine such schemes by failing to meet their obligations, which could lead to them having their licence revoked.”

Nottingham Council-owned Robin Hood Energy has been struggling in recent years, posting a £23.1 million loss in its April 2018 to March 2019 results published in March 2020. This led the company to sell its customer base to Centrica’s British Gas in September, as it works to recoup losses.

Along with the three companies now being issued a final order, Ofgem consulted on issuing them to four other suppliers when they missed the initial deadlines earlier in October. Together the seven suppliers owed £34 million in unpaid RO and FiT payments.

Of these, Tonik Energy has now ceased to trade, becoming the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to do so. Of the other three companies, Co-operative Energy and Flow Energy have provided Ofgem with sufficient assurance that they will pay, and MA Energy has paid in full.

The struggle to pay RO has become a major factor in small energy companies going bust in recent years. In October 2019, Ofgem issues four final orders to companies for missing the payment deadline, including Gnergy and Toto Energy who have both now ceased to trade. Robin Hood was also on the list, highlighting the extent of its ongoing struggles.

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