Together Energy goes bust affecting 176,000 customers
TOGETHER Energy has collapsed, leaving 176,000 customers without a supplier.
The firm, and its subsidiary Bristol Energy, is the latest casualty of the ongoing energy crisis, making it the 27th supplier to go bust since August last year.
Soaring wholesale gas prices have put financial pressure on energy suppliers and consumers are facing rocketing bills.
The collapse follows reports earlier this month that Together Energy was looking for emergency funding to continue trading.
Together – which is 50% owned by Warrington Council – was seeking a cash injection to prevent it going bust.
Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, will now find a new supplier for the affected customers.
Your gas and electricity will not be cut off and you will be contacted by your new supplier when one has been appointed.
But if you had a fixed rate deal with Together or Bristol Energy, your bills are set to rise as you'll be moved onto the default tariff.
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This is protected by the energy price cap, which limits the amount customers have to pay for their bills.
It is currently set at £1,277 but it is expected to rise further this year.
Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy for Citizens Advice, said: “With the price cap expected to go up again in April and the cost of living soaring, many are already facing impossible choices between heating and eating.
"The government must spread the cost of supplier failures so people aren’t left to foot a sky-high bill for chaos in the energy market, just as prices rise.
"It should also provide a one-off payment to people through the benefits system this April for those who need the most support.”
Warrington Council said it was "very disappointed" by the announcement.
A spokesperson said: "We know that Together Energy’s operating model was resilient and our approach to hedging extremely robust, but the enormous and sustained wholesale price rises mean that it is now one of many companies that has had to leave the market."
What should I do if I'm a Together Energy or Bristol Energy customer?
If you're a Together Energy or Bristol Energy customer, don't panic as your gas and electricity supply will continue as normal.
Funds that you've paid into your account will be protected.
Ofgem recommends that you should wait until a new supplier has been appointed before you consider switching to a different provider.
In the meantime you should take a meter reading to make the transfer process as smooth as possible.
Tashema Jackson, energy expert at energyhelpline.com, said while the news will "come as a shock", customers shouldn't worry.
“Ofgem will now begin the process of finding a new supplier for these customers which should only take a couple of days," she said.
“If your household is powered by Together Energy, don’t worry, your lights won’t go out and any credit you have on your account will be protected.
“Make sure you grab a meter reading when your new supplier is announced, to ensure the transition is seamless.”
Neil Lawrence, director of retail at Ofgem, said: “Ofgem’s number one priority is to protect customers.
"We know this is a worrying time for many people and news of a supplier going out of business can be unsettling."
He added: "Ofgem will choose a new supplier for you and while we are doing this our advice is to wait until we appoint a new supplier and do not switch in the meantime.
"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 tariff.
“Any customer concerned about paying their energy bill should contact their supplier to access the range of support that is available."
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