I’m paying back debt to Spark Energy. Will I pay this to the new supplier instead?
This is unclear at the moment. It depends on whether the new supplier arranges to take on debts owed to Spark Energy. If not, you may still have to continue to pay it back to Spark Energy or an administrator if one is appointed to run what remains of the company. Either way, you will have to pay what you owe.
Once a new supplier is appointed by Ofgem, it will explain how things will work in practice.
Should I cancel my direct debit with Spark Energy?
The new supplier should be able to automatically move your direct debit over once it’s appointed – though Ofgem says you’re free to stop this and cancel your direct debit before the new supplier contacts you if you want to.
When the new supplier does contact you, it will explain how it’ll take on your account, including direct debit arrangements.
What if I’m a prepay customer?
The notice posted on Spark Energy’s website says prepay customers should continue to top up as normal – your supply won’t be interrupted.
I’m already in the process of switching from Spark Energy. Will this still go through?
If you have a switch in progress, you’ll continue to be moved to the new supplier of your choice.
If you’re in the process of switching to Spark Energy, Ofgem says it should go through as planned and you’ll then be moved over to the supplier Ofgem chooses to take over.
What does Ofgem say?
Ofgem’s executive director for consumers and markets Mary Starks said: “Our message to energy customers with Spark is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected.
“Ofgem will now choose a new supplier and ensure you get the best deal possible. Whilst we’re doing this, our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.
“Although we have seen a number of supplier failures this year, our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”
New tests for energy suppliers
Spark Energy is the sixth – and largest – domestic supplier to cease trading this year, following Extra Energy earlier this week. In July, there was the high-profile collapse of Iresa Energy, with 90,000 customers, and we’ve also seen regional supplier Future Energy, which had around 10,000 customers, go in January, along with Usio Energy, which had 7,000 customers, and Gen4U, which had 500 customers.
Earlier this week, Ofgem proposed that new energy suppliers should have to pass financial and customer service tests in order to obtain a licence to operate.
Under the plans, companies would have to demonstrate they have adequate financial resources and can meet their customer service obligations before being awarded a licence to supply energy.