Ofgem has issued a Notice of Proposal to make a Final Order following a “number of serious, persistent and recent compliance failings” by UK Energy Incubator Hub Ltd.
The supplier – which operates under two brands, Northumbria Energy and Neo Energy and serves around 3,000 domestic customers – has been issued with three separate Provisional Orders due to these breaches so far this year. This includes one in June that banned the supplier from taking on new customers until changes to customer service failings were remedied.
If issued, the Final Order would require the supplier to remove a senior individual from a position of significant management responsibility or influence, under new rules brought in in 2021 that require energy bosses to be “fit and proper” for the job.
This is the first time the regulator has proposed to use the rules, which were further strengthened in December following a string of supplier collapses amid high power prices and market turbulence.
Amongst its breaches, UK Energy Incubator Hub has failed to provide basic information about the company when asked by Ofgem and provided poor customer service, the regulator said.
“Ofgem’s role is to protect consumers and we are raising the bar and taking firm action against suppliers to ensure they are fit and proper and have robust and sound financials,” said Cathryn Scott, Ofgem director of enforcement and emerging issues.
“This is our role as a robust regulator and is what customers expect and deserve. Our tightened-up rules will help protect bill-payers during these very difficult times.”
There will now a 21 day consultation period ahead of the Enforcement Decision Panel deciding whether to make the Final Order. At this stage, there have been no findings about regulatory contraventions by UK Energy Incubator Hub relating to the new rules.
UK Energy Incubator Hub previously operated under the name Euston Energy, which was issued a final order by Ofgem for failing to become a Data Communications Company user. Along with four other suppliers – Daligas, Enstroga, Entice Energy Supply and Symbio Energy, all of which have since shuttered – Euston Energy was issued the order in March 2020 following a consultation in January of that year.
As well as the Notice of Proposal, Ofgem has this week (Wednesday 6 July) issued a Provisional Order to supplier Foxglove Energy Supply Ltd following a compliance process due to its apparent failure to meet the Financial Responsibility Principle.
This means the company must now take “swift action” to improve its financial position, until it does Foxglove must refrain from taking on new customers and cannot take any money from the business unless it is essential to operation.
Current± has contacted Northumbria Energy, Neo Energy and Foxglove Energy Supply for comment