Ofgem is said to be bracing itself for a fresh wave of supplier collapses as early as tomorrow as the wholesale price of gas remains at record highs. A global shortage has caused it to rise by 250 percent since January.
Sky News reported that at least four suppliers were in talks with Ofgem today about entering its Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR) system.
The system means that a collapsed firm’s domestic customers are transferred over to a solvent company with no interruption to their supply.
Should it materialise the news would add several hundred thousand households to the toll of those impacted by soaring wholesale gas prices.
Industry sources said the decision of at least some of those four companies to cease trading could be announced as early as tomorrow.
The SOLR procedure was established in 2003 to ensure that when supplier failure occurs domestic customers are guaranteed continuity of supply.
It has been used prolifically recently after the price of wholesale gas skyrocketed – sending numerous smaller firms to the wall.
Bigger suppliers, including Centrica’s British Gas, EDF Energy and Octopus Energy have stepped into the fray to ensure supply continues.
But with more than 1.7 million households now being affected by the crisis, there have been increasing calls for Government support.
Over the weekend Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suggested that he was consulting Chancellor Rishi Sunak about support for struggling firms.
His claims were later shot down by Number 11 – which accused the minister of “making things up”.
Firms which have already collapsed include Igloo Energy, Utility Point and Green Energy.
Avro Energy, with 580,000 customers, was the biggest to succumb during the current crisis.