Solarplicity goes bust leaving 7,500 households without a gas or electricity provider

SMALL energy firm Solarplicity has gone bust leaving 7,500 households without a gas or electricity provider.

Regulator Ofgem has announced that the company has ceased trading but customers won't be cut off.

The watchdog will choose a new supplier to take on Solarplocity's customers, which will get in contact with them over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, households will continue to get gas and electricity supplied to their homes, while prepayment meters can still be topped up as normal.

When the new supplier gets in touch, you'll need to provide it with an up-to-date meter reading and any outstanding balance and credit will be transferred over.

Customers are advised not to switch supplier until the new one has been announced to make the transferring process easier.

Is it safe to switch to a small energy provider?

FED-UP with sky high energy prices and poor customer service from the Big Six energy firms? Then you could save a packet by switching to a smaller firm.

Research from Which? has found customers with smaller and medium sized firms like Utility Warehouse, Flow Energy and Octopus Energy are much happier than those with the major firms – and could save a whopping £333 a year by switching.

The biggest risk of choosing a small provider is that it goes bust.

But remember that if the firm does go under you won't be cut off, and Ofgem will try and get a new supplier in place as quickly as it can.

Once it has done this, the new firm will contact you – it doesn't have to honour the deal you were on with defunct firm – but under Ofgem rules any credit you have on your account is protected.

If you're unhappy with the new supplier's offer you are free to shop around for a new deal and switch – you won't have to pay any exit fees to leave.

Around 500 business customers will also be affected.

Philippa Pickford from Ofgem says households "do not need to worry" and that they should "sit tight and don't switch".

She added: "You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, which will then get in touch about your new tariff."

Most of Solarplicity's customers – around 43,000 – were recently switched to TOTO after Ofgem banned it from taking on new customers, following complaints of poor customer service.

Even though the ban, which was issued in February, has since been lifted, it had agreed not to take on more customers until August 5.

Households who've been moved onto TOTO over the past two weeks will not be affected.

In a statement on the energy firm's website, it said that bosses "deeply regret" the impact the decision will have on remaining customers.

It added: "The large number of small energy suppliers and the harsh way the market is regulated make it difficult for companies like Solarplicity to survive.
"Ofgem's recent actions stopped it from raising the funding it needed, unfortunately leaving it no option but to cease trading."

It's the latest in a string of small suppliers to go bust over the last 18 months.

Brilliant Energy left 17,000 customers in the lurch after it stopped trading in March this year, while Our Power and Economy Energy went bust at the very start of the year.

Last year, saw nine small energy firms fail – with Extra Energy, Spark Energy,Future Energy, National Gas and Power, Iresa Energy, Gen4U, Usio Energy, One Select, and Electaphase Energy all going bust.

As more households switch to small and medium energy suppliers, we take a look at whether they're safe to sign up to.

Last week, Ofgem announced that it will be lowering its energy price cap slashing bills for 11million households by £75 a year.

But you can actually save £333 a year by switching supplier. Here's a round up of the best deals.

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