Has Pure Planet gone bust? Energy company’s collapse amid rising gas prices and Ofgem position explained

A host of energy companies have ceased trading in recent weeks due to soaring wholesale gas prices

Pure Planet has ceased trading, Ofgem has confirmed.

The energy supplier, which had around 250,000 customers, was one of two more companies to go bust amid rising wholesale gas prices.

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Pure Planet was reportedly one of a handful of providers in talks with industry regulator Ofgem about entering its Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR) system.

Figures from Oil & Gas UK detail how wholesale gas prices have increased 250% since the start of the year and 70% in August alone, as companies shoulder the financial strain.

Experts have already warned that many smaller energy companies will soon go bust, with financial pressures threatening to reshape the British market.

Here’s a look at which companies have already ceased trading, suppliers at risk of being in trouble.

How many customers did Pure Planet have?

Pure Planet, formerly known as Tulip Energy Supply Limited, was founded in 2015 by Matthew Hirst, changing its name in 2017 when it received the backing of BP.

Energy heavyweight BP owned 24% of Pure Planet and bought renewable energy on its behalf.

Pure Planet positioned itself in a competitive market place by selling renewable energy, and gas that is 100% carbon offset, while not making a profit on the energy its customers use.

It was a purely digital operation, with customers able to manage their accounts via its website or app and raise questions through its web chat service WattBott.

It surpassed the 100,000 customer mark in 2019.

Gas supply domestic market share by company. (Graphic: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

How big was Pure Planet?

Pure Planet was a fairly new energy provider, compared to some of the traditional companies in the sector.

Yet it had created a strong reputation and had been named a Which? recommended provider for 2020 and 2021.

Latest data from Ofgem showed that all the smaller suppliers of gas in Great Britain make up 7.5% of the overall market share, as of July 2021.

Has Pure Planet gone bust?

The energy sector is set for a shake up with some within the industry predicting there could be as few as 10 suppliers by the end of the year.

In a statement released by Ofgem on the evening of Wednesday 13 October, it confirmed Pure Planet Limited and Colorado Energy Limited had ceased trading.

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.

“I want to reassure affected customers that they do not need to worry: under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue. If you have credit on your account the funds you have paid in are protected and you will not lose the money that is owed to you.

“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.”

The energy firms to have gone bust in recent weeks amid soaring wholesale gas prices. (Graphic: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

Which energy companies have gone bust?

No fewer than 12 energy companies have gone bust in recent weeks due to the spiralling cost of wholesale gas:

  • Pure Planet (13 October)
  • Colorado Energy (13 October)
  • Igloo Energy (29 September)
  • Symbio Energy (29 September)
  • Enstroga (29 September)
  • Avro Energy (22 September)
  • Green Supplier Limited (22 September)
  • Utility Point (14 September)
  • People’s Energy (14 September)
  • PFP Energy (7 September)
  • MoneyPlus Energy (7 September)
  • HUB Energy (9 August)

New suppliers have been found for most of the firms to have gone bust, with industry regulations ensuring energy supply will continue for affected customers.

Octopus Energy has taken on the 580,000 domestic accounts from Avro Energy.

EDF Energy has taken on Utility Point customers, while British Gas is the new supplier for People’s Energy, PFP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy accounts. E.On is the new supplier to HUB Energy accounts.

Why are wholesale gas prices soaring?

An imbalance between supply and demand has seen the price of gas skyrocket.

There is a high global demand for gas, with the UK’s needs increasing as the colder weather set in through the winter months, while a shortage of supply.

Planned maintenance, reducing the nuclear power outage of the UK by a fifth, as well as lower solar and wind renewable energy generated has also contributed.

At the moment, companies are shouldering that financial burden due to the government’s energy price cap which limits the cost firms can pass on to its customers.

Yet the cap is set to rise by £139 a year, from £1,138 to £1,277 a year, starting from 1 October 2021 and will be reviewed again by Ofgem in six months’ time.

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