he first casualty of Britain’s recent gas supply shock has emerged after a small supply start-up said it would need to close due to tough energy market conditions. The closure of Brighter World Energy comes just weeks after the UK gas market rocketed to five-year highs, raising fears of a financial crunch for small suppliers. The energy minnow, set up a little over a year ago, said it had made the “difficult decision” to shut the business because market conditions had made its ‘buy-to-give’ business model unsustainable. The supplier had hoped to set itself apart within the crowded energy supply market by promising to help install a solar-powered micro-grid in an African village for every 2,000 customers it signed up. One of the market’s fastest growing new suppliers is understood to be on the brink of announcing a significant tariff hike for its newly won customers, according to industry sources. Already Good Energy has delivered a hike of 7pc for 70,000 customers just before Christmas, and Toto Energy raised its standard variable tariffs by 22pc. The minnow also angered customers by calling for a 50pc hike from their direct debit customers on fixed tariffs, before backing down from the ‘seasonal’ winter price change, saying it was a “misprint”. Senior industry sources have consistently warned that the market is vulnerable to dramatic energy price spikes, because small suppliers often offer rock-bottom energy prices without the financial backing to absorb a market shock. Brighter World’s customers will be passed on to its partner company Robin Hood Energy, a not-for-profit supplier, with no change to their contract terms or account balances. Brighter World will also waive any exit fees for those customers who would prefer to leave Robin Hood.
Telegraph 5th Jan 2018 read more »