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UK: Budget energy supplier folds blaming rising prices

About 160,000 UK customers face potentially higher energy bills after a budget supplier closed down, blaming rising energy prices.

GB Energy Supply ceased trading this weekend, leaving many faced with the possibility of higher charges unless they ask for the cheapest deal from their new supplier.

Ofgem will oversee a new firm being appointed for GB Energy’s former customers that will best protect their interests. The energy watchdog said no customers would have their energy cut off during the changeover and any outstanding credit balances would be protected.

In a statement, GB Energy said: “Due to swift and significant increases in energy prices over recent months and, as a small supplier our inability to forward buy energy to allow us to access the best possible wholesale prices, means that the position of the business has become untenable.”

Customers were advised to take a meter reading immediately and wait for the new supplier to contact them regarding any outstanding credit balances. It is then down to them to inform the new supplier that they wanted to be put on the cheapest deal, Ofgem said, meaning those who fail to do so could be hit by increased costs.

No exit fees will be charged as a result of the closure.

Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s senior partner for consumers and competition, said: “If you are a customer of GB Energy Supply there is no need to worry as we will ensure your energy supplies are safe. Ofgem are actively working with the industry to ensure your transition to a new supplier is as smooth as possible. While this process is under way our advice is not to do anything as you can continue to rely on your energy supply as normal.”

Citizens Advice said it was working closely with Ofgem to ensure a smooth transition to a new supplier. “Although GB Energy Supply has gone out of business, customers don’t need to worry,” said Victoria MacGregor, director of energy. “This shouldn’t affect their gas and electricity supply so they’ll still be able to heat and light their home as normal.”

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