Energy company Bulb has come under fire from its customers who say it is using them like a bank. It is forcing them to pay higher bills even when many of them are hundreds of pounds in credit to the supplier. The bumper increases – by as much as 80% – could be an indicator of what is in store for customers of other suppliers grappling with record gas market prices following a week in which three more firms went to the wall. Igloo Energy, Symbio Energy and Enstroga all went bust last week. Bulb, which has 1.7 million customers, has recently been at the centre of takeover speculation and is hunting for fresh investment to fund the company. It says on its website that it offers “fair prices that stay fair” – but customers have flooded Twitter to complain about the monthly price increases and to ask whether this is happening because the firm is having money “problems”.
Observer 2nd Oct 2021 read more »
Greg Jackson can’t suppress a chuckle. The energy crisis has sent a number of suppliers to the wall already and the founder of Octopus Energy is watching in amusement as his rivals, large and small, artfully adapt their lobbying efforts accordingly. Soaring wholesale gas prices have sent costs rocketing for energy firms, triggering calls from smaller suppliers for the price cap to be lifted. Meanwhile, Chris O’Shea, the chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, recently performed an extraordinary volte-face when he dropped his company’s long-standing opposition to the price cap now it is wiping out some of the competition. “I think we’re just about the only people who haven’t changed their views, aren’t we?” says Jackson. “The people who used to oppose the price cap now seem to support it, and the ones who supported it now oppose it. The reality is that without the price cap, households would be facing huge rises in energy costs.” Despite the turmoil that has already claimed ten smaller suppliers, Octopus Energy’s tentacles are spreading. It has taken on nearly 600,000 customers from Avro Energy, one of the firms that collapsed, is reportedly eyeing a swoop on rival Bulb, and has just received a near-£500 million cash injection from the investment fund of environmentalist, and former US vice-president, Al Gore. And that’s all in the past few days.
Times 3rd Oct 2021 read more »