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Solarplicity takes aim at Ofgem following collapse

Image: Ofgem.

Image: Ofgem.

Solarplicity has accused Ofgem of “overly onerous interventions” which ultimately led to the energy supplier’s collapse this week.

Yesterday the firm, which has been subject to investigations and provisional orders over customer service failures, formally ceased trading yesterday, triggering Ofgem’s Supplier of Last Resort process which will protect Solarplicity’s 7,500 customers.

Other customers of Solarplicity’s had already been taken on by independent supplier Toto Energy.

In a statement issued after its collapse David Elbourne, chief executive at Solarplicity, blamed Ofgem for scuppering two separate attempts at saving the beleaguered energy supplier.

He said that Ofgem’s provisional order against the firm, issued on 22 February 2019, ended a refinancing plan that was being pursued at the time, while the regulator’s “recent and unnecessary public statements” caused a potential sale of the supply arm to collapse.

Those separate failures left Solarplicity with no alternative but to place the business into administration and, Elbourne added, the company had warned the regulator of the impact the “overly onerous interventions” were to have on the business.

“Now that these have come to reality, the unfortunate impact on jobs, customers and suppliers is unavoidable. Solarplicity believes it is hugely unfortunate that these stakeholders will bear the brunt of Ofgem’s decision,” he said.

Solarplicity becomes the 12th independent supplier to collapse in the last two years, a fact which the company said was proof that there is “no viable future as a small-scale energy supplier in today’s overcrowded, highly regulated market”.

However Citizens Advice has claimed the news, coupled with research compiled by the charity which has claimed more than £170 million has been left behind in unpaid industry costs, is evidence that greater consumer protections are necessary.

“The collapse of these firms revealed a major gap in consumer protections. The administrators of failed firms have not been subject to the same debt collection rules as energy suppliers. The government must take action and fix this problem,” Gillian Guy, chief executive at Citizens Advice, said.

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