Energy suppliers Green Network and Simplicity collapse - what it means for customers

By Jon Ball
Thursday, 4th February 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Thursday, 4th February 2021, 10:54 am
More than 400,000 energy customers being moved to new providers after the collapse of two companies are urged not to worry.
More than 400,000 energy customers being moved to new providers after the collapse of two companies are urged not to worry.

More than 400,000 energy customers being moved to new providers after the collapse of two companies are urged not to worry.

Green Network Energy, which had about 360,000 customers, and Simplicity Energy, which had about 50,000, have ceased trading after falling into credit default, where they did not have enough credit to buy the gas and electricity needed to supply customers.

New suppliers

Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain, has moved quickly to appoint new firms to take over the supplies - and they have moved quickly to reassure customers.EDF Energy is the new supplier for customers of Croydon-based Green Network Energy.

Philippe Commaret, EDF customers business managing director, said: “We are pleased to be able to step in to support the customers of Green Network Energy, who will have been concerned to hear their existing supplier has unfortunately ceased trading.

"We are working closely with the supplier to ensure a smooth transition and ensure customers are switched over as quickly as possible, with everything taken care of for them.”

Protected credit

British Gas Evolve, the supplier's online-only brand, has been appointed to supply customers of Milton Keynes-based Simplicity, which had been offering some of the cheapest gas and electricity deals in recent months.

The MoneySavingExpert website, set up by consumer and money saving expert Martin Lewis, said: "If you were with Simplicity Energy, your gas or electricity supply will not be cut off and is already being provided by British Gas Evolve, and any credit you have will be protected.

"British Gas Evolve is in the process of getting in touch with all those affected."

The transfer of electricity and gas supplies should be smooth. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Smooth switch

Peter Simon, British Gas Evolve managing director, said: "We welcome Simplicity Energy customers and will do everything we can to ensure their switch is smooth.

"We’ll be offering them a bespoke market competitive tariff and they will be supplied with 100 per cent green electricity.

"With British Gas Evolve, our aim is to offer residential customers a low cost and reliable service from a trusted provider.

"We have taken what we know works from disrupter brands and combined it with our vast experience in the energy market to create a new customer offer that we think is well suited to the Simplicity Energy customers."

What happens next?

A British Gas Evolve spokesman said: "We'll send out your Welcome Pack with everything you need to know, including details of your new tariff. This should arrive in two-three weeks so look out for it in your inbox or in the post. It’s a good idea to take a meter read now if you can, as we’ll ask for one once we set up your account.

"It’s a competitively priced tariff with no exit fees which means you can switch later if it’s not quite right for you. You’ll be able to switch as soon as we've fully set up your account."

An EDF Energy spokesman said: "It'll take some time for Green Network Energy to send over your details. Once this happens we'll send out your welcome pack with all the information you need in it.

"We guarantee all customers will see a price decrease versus their current tariff until at least 30 September, 2021."

Switching tariffs

Ofgem recommends customers do not switch tariffs yet, until the new supplier has confirmed the transfer is complete.

However, the MoneySavingExpert website recommends customers shop around once the transfer is complete, as, former Simplicity customers particularly, are likely to be put on a 'deemed' or default tariff, which "tend to be pricey".

Regarding transfers in progress, it says "the switch should continue as normal – there's nothing you need to do".

Customers in credit

Ofgem regulations protect domestic customer credit balances.

EDF said it will honour any credit balances of former Green Network Energy customers and British Gas Evolve said "any valid Simplicity credit balances will be moved over to your new account".

Regarding any payments owed to the collapsed companies, both British Gas Evolve and EDF said they were working with administrators to establish how the process will work and then will be in touch with customers.

EDF also moved to reassure customers eligible for a 'warm home discount', saying: "The great news is if you've successfully applied for the scheme with Green Network Energy, we'll be taking these on so you won't miss out on your payment."