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Are you waiting on a refund from a defunct energy supplier?

We’ve heard from a number of people awaiting refunds from suppliers who have recently ceased trading. How long should it take to get your money back?

I don’t always remember the exact moment I get an email from my energy supplier, but it’s perhaps appropriate in some way that I received notice my energy supplier had ceased trading right as I turned on the heat for the first time last autumn.

I’m certainly not alone – over the past few months several hundred thousand of other customers have likely received a similar notification. Earlier this year both Green Network Energy and Simplicity Energy closed, affecting some 410,000 customers, and last year also saw the closure of Tonik Energy and Yorkshire Energy.  

Guide: What to do if your energy supplier goes bust

The good news is that my lights didn’t go out while I was transferred to a new supplier, known as a supplier of last resort (SOLR) and chosen by Ofgem. This transfer was pretty straightforward, with the hardest part being having to crawl under the stairs for a meter reading. 

Given I had built up a fair amount of credit with my old supplier, I still had one remaining question:

How long until I got my refund?

Turns out I’m not alone here either. We’ve heard from a number of people awaiting refunds from suppliers who have recently ceased trading. What they’ve been promised doesn’t always measure up to reality:   

I asked Which? energy expert Sarah Ingrams about when people could expect their balance to be refunded. She said:

Exactly how long this takes depends on the information the failed supplier had, so it can be out of the new supplier’s control. Usually it’s the new supplier who will refund your credit or add it to your new energy account.

We asked Ofgem about this, and it said if a customer has not been contacted for several weeks by their new supplier, get in touch and ask when they’ll get their balance back. Ofgem doesn’t have a timetable for returning credit balances in a SOLR situation, but it is closely involved as the new supplier takes on customers to make sure it acts as speedily as possible”

Fortunately for me I was told several weeks later that my refunded credit will shortly be posted to me in the form of a cheque. Unfortunately though, that seems to be taking a bit longer than usual for my area. 

Share your experiences

If you’ve been with a supplier that’s recently ceased trading, we’d be keen to hear about your experience of being moved to a new supplier.

Has your new supplier communicated what’s going on with your supply in a way that works for you?  Have you received a refund for any account credit you had with your old supplier?

What other questions have you had about your transfer that you’d want to know from your new energy supplier?  

Once you moved fully to your new supplier, did you stick with it, or did you use the opportunity to find a better deal elsewhere?  

Tell us about it in the comments. 

Comments

Thank you for this opportunity. Having been with Tonik, I changed to PFP because it seemed cheaper. After 2/3 months, it went bust and I ended up with British Gas although I would never have chosen them. I regretted leaving Tonik only to find that it has since gone bust.

British Gas took over last October after we had built up a credit with PFP over the summer. That credit is still floating round somewhere. I spoke today to someone in South Africa who was very helpful but said that it would find its way on to the account eventually so I can only keep my fingers crossed. The original promise was about 3 months at most.

I suppose that it is good that the supply of electricity/gas is guaranteed if your supplier goes bust but to be honest, that is the least you should expect. The truth is that currently, the whole “switch” tactic has become a bit of a joke as all the sites tell you to stay with your current supplier. There seems little chance of any imminent change to this. It was perhaps a nice choice to have and one of the few upsides to privatisation. In my opinion we need some form of public ownership (but not the same as before) where the government could provide proper accountability and with a consumer body that actually has some power. That way many of the current problems could alleviated.

If we take Scandinavia, there is far more public ownership than here (and incidentally much higher union membership), but standards of living are much higher. The evidence is that privatisation has not really resulted in any tangible benefits but brought with it many problems.

Of course we should recognise that the increase in gas has caused difficulties worldwide irrespective of the internal arrangements of supply. Nevertheless, having the right kind of publicly owned system would make it much easier to address consumer concerns than a system where profit is the overriding priority.

If only we could be assured that a monopoly public company would give value for money. I think past experience, as well as present, makes that somewhat dubious. Inertia, inefficiency, lack of initiative, may be part of the outcome. But who knows?

I think with over 40 energy companies still in business the fight for customers will have kept profits down – one result being the demise of so many suppliers. The price cap is also no doubt keeping a cap on profits, or forcing losses. It will be interesting to see what the latest profits are – Ofgem requires them published – but the last aggregated ones I can find are here. They don’t seem healthy of they were perpetuated https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/infographic-bills-prices-and-profits

Paul Burrows says:
26 February 2022

When PFP went under last September I switched to Octopus. I emailed PFP asking for my credit (over £200) to be refunded. I’ve had no reply and certainly no refund in over 6 months. What is the regulator doing to make these companies pay people the money they are owed?

Ann Speakman says:
10 March 2022

I was with Bristol Energy until September 2021. I moved to British Gas but everything went wrong. I had a credit with Bristol Energy of over £600 but still have not recovered that money. The person who rang me to do the transfer got the number of my gas meter wrongly transcribed and that lead to 6 months of muddle. I complicated matters by going overseas in December 2021 and will not return to UK until May 2022. I am being charged £60 a month while I am away by British Gas who still have not got back my credit as Bristol Energy is now defunct. I plug away writing BG emails but nothing happens but I am determined to try to get the credit paid to BG. I do not know what else to do.

Mr Reg Darge says:
23 March 2022

I was with People’s energy but luckily switched to Sainsbury’s before they went bust. I left with about £111 credit but was never reimbursed or received a final statement.
Ofgem and British Gas website say they are responsible but dealing with the latter since October has not resulted in a refund and they now deny they are responsible saying “ they have no access to People’s accounts” – if not them then who?
I have now involved the ombudsman. It is 6 months since People’s folded.
Who has my money?