It’s unlikely that your supplier will go out of business. If it does, Ofgem's safety net will make sure you’ll always have an energy supply, and will feel as little change as possible.
This guide will answer some of your questions.
Will my supply be cut off?
No. We’ll move you to a new supplier. Your energy supply won’t be disrupted. In fact, you won’t notice any change, other than a new supplier being appointed for you.
Our advice is to take a meter reading and not to do anything until we have appointed a new supplier and they have been in touch with you. For advice on how to read your meter, see: Understand your energy meter.
Who will choose my new supplier?
Ofgem will choose your new supplier, following a competitive process designed to get the best deal for you.
When will I know who the new supplier is and the date I'll be switched to them?
We’ll make a decision on a new supplier as soon as possible and will announce these details on our website.
We’ll ask suppliers to bid to become the new supplier, so we can try and get the best possible deal for you in the circumstances.
After we’ve chosen them, you will be moved onto a new contract with the new supplier. It should only take us a few days to appoint a new supplier.
During this time, our advice is to sit tight, don’t switch and wait until your new supplier contacts you. This will make sure the process is as hassle free as possible for you, including securing the return of any outstanding credit balance you may have.
Once you have been contacted by your new supplier, you should ask them to put you on their cheapest deal or shop around if you are not happy with them. You won’t be charged exit fees. Find out more in ‘Switching supplier’ below.
What happens if I have a smart meter?
You’ll be transferred to the new supplier when we appoint them. Your energy supply won’t be disrupted.
We will try to find a supplier that can give you the best deal in the circumstances. If the new supplier we choose can’t operate your smart meter in smart mode - it will continue to work, but as a ‘traditional’ meter.
That means the new supplier will operate it like a traditional meter, with meter readings taken manually. Your meter is likely be able to work in smart mode again in the future.
For example, if you choose to shop around for another tariff or supplier, or when all meters are enrolled into the national smart meter communication service.
For more on smart meters, see Smart Meters: Your rights.
Will I be on a different contract with my new supplier?
Yes. Your old tariff will end.
Instead, your new supplier will put you onto a special ‘deemed’ contract (this means a contract you haven’t chosen). This contract will last for as long as you want it to.
Will my bills go up?
Your new supplier will put you onto a special ‘deemed’ contract (this means a contract you haven’t chosen).
Your bills may go up, as ‘deemed’ contracts can be more expensive. But Ofgem will try to get the best possible deal for you, if you’re in this situation.
Why could 'deemed' contracts cost more?
‘Deemed’ contracts can be more expensive. The supplier takes on more risk, for example, having to buy additional wholesale energy at short notice for new customers. So, they also charge more to make up for this extra risk.
Until you’re contacted by the new supplier, sit tight to protect any credit balance you may have. Once you have been contacted, you should ask them to put you on their cheapest deal or shop around for another supplier if you are not happy with them as a supplier.
You won’t be charged exit fees. For clear advice on how to do this, see our guide: How to switch and shop for a better deal.
What rate will I pay under my new contract?
Your new supplier will put you onto a special ‘deemed’ contract (this means a contract you haven’t chosen). This contract will last for as long as you want it to.
Your new supplier will tell you what the new 'deemed' rate will be. It will take effect when they take over your supply. We aim to make a decision on the new supplier as soon as possible and, when choosing a new supplier, we try to get the best possible deal for you.
Once you have been contacted by your new supplier, you should ask them to put you on their cheapest deal or shop around for another supplier. You won’t be charged exit fees.
For clear advice on how to do this, see our guide: How to switch and shop for a better deal.
Should I switch supplier now?
No. Our advice is not to switch immediately, but wait until your new supplier has got in touch with you. They can then tell you what to do about any credit balances you might have had with your old supplier.
Once you have been contacted by your new supplier you should then ask them to put you on their cheapest deal or shop around if you aren't happy with them as a supplier. You won’t be charged exit fees.
For clear advice on how to do this, see our guide: How to switch and shop for a better deal.
I’m already in the process of switching supplier and it’s not yet complete. Will my switch go through and is my credit balance protected?
You don’t need to worry. If it’s already in progress, you will continue to be moved to the new supplier you have chosen. You should not need to do anything.
When your switch completes and the account with your old supplier is closed, you may be owed money if your account had built up credit with the old supplier. Once the switch is complete your direct debit with your old supplier should be cancelled. However, if this has not happened you may need to cancel the direct debit with your old supplier. We'll look to appoint a supplier who will pay back money owed to you that's outstanding from a closed account.
Accounts in debt or credit
I’m in credit to my old supplier. Will I get this money back?
Your new supplier will pay back the outstanding credit you may have.
Once we have appointed the new supplier, they will contact you to explain how this will work. Costs for energy you have used but have not yet been billed for will be deducted from your account balance.
Our advice is to take a meter reading and a note of your account balance if you know it, and to wait for them to get in touch with you.
I’m paying back debt to my old supplier. Will I still pay this to my new supplier?
This depends on what your new supplier agrees with your old supplier’s administrators.
You will need to pay back the debt to your new supplier if they arrange to take on customer debts to your old supplier.
You will not need to pay back the debt to your new supplier if they don’t make this arrangement. However, you may have to continue to pay it back to your old supplier or their administrator.
Once we have appointed the new supplier, they will explain how things will work in practice.
I recently closed my account. Will I get back the credit I’m owed?
We’ll look to appoint a new supplier who will pay back money due to customers that's outstanding from closed accounts. Costs for energy you have used but have not yet been billed for will be deducted from your account balance.
What about businesses?
Ofgem’s safety net protects all customers' energy supplies, and all customers will be transferred to a new supplier. Business customers' credit balances are not protected under the Safety Net. Business customers should contact the company’s administrator to ask them what to do about their credit balances.
You can find further advice in our business consumers guide.
Payments through direct debit
Should I cancel my direct debit?
Your new supplier will soon contact you to explain how they will take on your account, including any direct debit arrangements. They will also tell you what will happen to any credit balance you may have had with your old supplier.
You can cancel your direct debit before the new supplier contacts you, if you want to. You will be able to set up a new direct debit with the new supplier.
What should I do if I’ve already cancelled my direct debit?
You don't need to worry if you’ve already cancelled your direct debit. Wait until your new supplier has got in touch with you. They will help you set up a new account and will be able to tell you what will happen to any credit balance you may have with your old supplier.
Complaints and contacts
I had made a complaint to my old supplier and I’m still waiting for it to be resolved. What happens now?
If you had made a complaint to your old supplier and it had not yet been resolved, you will need to raise the issue again with the new supplier once we have chosen them. This includes, for example, complaints you may have previously made about your account balance.
The new supplier will review if the complaint is still relevant now you have transferred to them, or if it can be closed.
For more on the complaints process and how to make a complaint, see: Complain about your gas or electricity bill or supplier.
How will I be contacted if I'm moving home?
Your supplier or their appointed administrator will contact you at your old home address. You may want to consider redirecting your post if this affects you.
I'm not sure who my supplier is
You can find out who your gas or electricity supplier is and their contact details on a recent energy bill.
If you don't have this to hand, or if you've just moved home and aren't sure which utility company supplies your new property, see Who is my gas or electricity supplier?
Further help and advice
If your question isn’t answered here and you have concerns about your energy supply, problems or complaints, you should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline in the first instance for guidance and support.
- Citizens Advice consumer helpline (opens another website)
- Telephone: 03454 040506 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Email Citizens Advice via webform
You can read more about our powers to protect consumers when suppliers go out of business in our guidance: Supplier of Last Resort process.
More energy guides
- Energy back-billing: Your rights
- Energy supply disconnection and prepayment meter rules
- Who to contact if it's difficult paying energy bills
- Priority Services Register for people in need
- Home heating support schemes and advice
- Energy saving support schemes and advice
- How to switch energy supplier and shop for a better deal