Energy bills: How spanked will YOU get?

Spanked or smug?

Spanked - my energy company will perish
8
42%
Smug - strong company, great nation
8
42%
Neither - Mummy pays for my electric
3
16%
 
Total votes: 19
User avatar
Sput
Posts: 7513
Joined: Wed 20 Aug, 2003 19.57

All this ominous news about smaller energy suppliers being likely to go under and prices spiralling is a joy, so I thought we could display our moans or smugness at what’s about to happen.

Personally I’ll be getting spanked. We rent an all electric flat so have to be savvy about cheap tariffs. I got a fixed deal with Symbio (which was already stupid of me) at the start of the year. I don’t have a lot of confidence they’ll survive the month and so I expect to be ejected onto some other provider. That’ll be a doubling of bills at least, and maybe more if it gets dragged out.

How about YOU? Will you be getting spanked or feeling smug this winter?
Knight knight
cwathen
Posts: 1216
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

I'm with Bulb which is also at risk of going under. TBF although the increase in wholesale energy is the thing that pushed them over I'm not sure how viable these businesses ever were (or at least, how resilient they would be in the event of something like a big increase in wholesale). Bulb built it's customer base by handing out free credit like sweets. When I joined it was £100 for you and £100 for the person who referred you. Then once in you could start referring people and get free credit yourself with no limit on it.

At one point my account was over £300 in credit, I lowered my monthly payment to the minimum and was effectively only paying £30 / month for my electricity for a couple of years (and it's an all electric home too). Was this model ever truly sustainable?
scottishtv
Posts: 689
Joined: Thu 01 Apr, 2004 15.36
Location: Edinburgh

cwathen wrote: Tue 21 Sep, 2021 09.47Was this model ever truly sustainable?
According to an interview I saw with the boss of Ecotricity (who say they are well-hedged and safe for now), many of these companies were loss leading to try and gain market share, with an eye to profitability/higher prices for consumers in the future. But with their costs rocketing and limited scope to put up bills, they're running out of cash and have nowhere to turn.

I'm with EDF on a fixed deal until end of June next year. It wasn't the cheapest around when I signed up, but is starting to look like pretty good value. So, I'm smug.

Back in the day, as a student I had various problems with energy companies as I moved flat a lot so learnt to value one with a website that works and where you can phone/online chat to someone (without getting cut off), even if you pay a bit more. Never had an issue with EDF.
User avatar
Pete
Posts: 7410
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 13.36
Location: Dundee

cwathen wrote: Tue 21 Sep, 2021 09.47 I'm with Bulb which is also at risk of going under. TBF although the increase in wholesale energy is the thing that pushed them over I'm not sure how viable these businesses ever were (or at least, how resilient they would be in the event of something like a big increase in wholesale). Bulb built it's customer base by handing out free credit like sweets. When I joined it was £100 for you and £100 for the person who referred you. Then once in you could start referring people and get free credit yourself with no limit on it.

At one point my account was over £300 in credit, I lowered my monthly payment to the minimum and was effectively only paying £30 / month for my electricity for a couple of years (and it's an all electric home too). Was this model ever truly sustainable?
Yes, I just jumped from Bulb to SSE after their third price hike in the (less than?) year or so i'd been with them.

Alongside the handing out referral credit they were clearly not charging enough to run their business at the start, hence the repeated price hikes. My smart meter has never worked right since I moved to them either and their customer services has been polite but inept.
"He has to be larger than bacon"
cwathen
Posts: 1216
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

pete wrote:Alongside the handing out referral credit they were clearly not charging enough to run their business at the start, hence the repeated price hikes.
Part of their spiel was that it was a very simple and easy to understand model with only one tarrif and they would lower their prices when the cost of energy dropped, and they did actually do this several times in the past when they could have kept it the same and built a cushion to help cover price hikes. Instead they've found themselves in a market where costs are only going up and are having to constantly pass those costs on with consumers being less and less receptive to unpredictable price increases.

I think at the business end the plan was equally simple and that they would just sell with a fixed margin on top of the wholesale cost which in theory would turn a profit. However I would imagine things like the unlimited referral credit were separated off under another column and therefore they were never actually achieving the margin they needed with customers like me paying huge parts of their bill with free credit.

TBF I've really only stayed with them so long out of pure laziness.
thegeek
Posts: 710
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

Bulb didn't do much marketing to start with - beyond the referrals - so they probably worked our that £100-200 was what they'd have spent on brand awareness/TV advertising campaigns for similar results. I doubt it was too outlandish in terms of competitors' customer acquisition costs.

I was with them until earlier this year, when I switched to PFP Energy. They went under last week, and I'm now in the process of being moved over to British Gas. The SLoR process seems to have been reasonably smooth so far, though as yet I've only been sent my electricity contract and not my gas one, and I'm not sure how long I need to leave it before flagging that with them.
Jonny
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon 02 Nov, 2009 09.42

Sput wrote: Tue 21 Sep, 2021 08.51Personally I’ll be getting spanked. We rent an all electric flat so have to be savvy about cheap tariffs.
Similar situation over here. Our fixed deal with Octopus ended in May. At the time, its variable tariff was the best on the market, by quite a bit. Its customer service by email is fine, so decided to remain.

It announced a substantial hike 2 weeks ago, which got my arse in gear to switch. Upped sticks to EDF, fixed to 2024. Would have worked out slightly better in the long term had I switched in May, but pleased I didn't muck around given all that's unfolded since.

Smug spanking, I guess?
allwillbewell
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 09.02

scottishtv wrote: Tue 21 Sep, 2021 10.15
cwathen wrote: Tue 21 Sep, 2021 09.47Was this model ever truly sustainable?
According to an interview I saw with the boss of Ecotricity (who say they are well-hedged and safe for now), many of these companies were loss leading to try and gain market share, with an eye to profitability/higher prices for consumers in the future. But with their costs rocketing and limited scope to put up bills, they're running out of cash and have nowhere to turn.

I'm with EDF on a fixed deal until end of June next year. It wasn't the cheapest around when I signed up, but is starting to look like pretty good value. So, I'm smug.

Back in the day, as a student I had various problems with energy companies as I moved flat a lot so learnt to value one with a website that works and where you can phone/online chat to someone (without getting cut off), even if you pay a bit more. Never had an issue with EDF.
A lot of these companies started back in 2015 or so, it was mostly a load of people trying to get rich quick .They have failed and should be allowed to go bust, gov should not bail them out unless they are viable. Bulb is apparently one of the only ones that is.

I assume in future gov should regulate so energy companies are required to be prepared as the big players were. Although even some of the big players may get caught in worst case scenario.

The most bizarre aspect of this is the gov giving money to Co2 producers to make the gas. That's the problem when you allow something so important to fall into the hands of money making private sector. Anything so crucial should be under our own control and owned by us.
All views are my own
scottishtv
Posts: 689
Joined: Thu 01 Apr, 2004 15.36
Location: Edinburgh

thegeek wrote: Wed 22 Sep, 2021 07.52[...] PFP Energy. They went under last week, and I'm now in the process of being moved over to British Gas.
I note that that energy supplier is encouraging people to sign a change.org petition demanding the Business Secretary resign from his post! It looks like the petition was set up by another supplier (Green Energy).

Bizarre behaviour.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 1186
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

I'm with EDF, which is very unlikely to go bust. Will be paying more this winter, but at least I won't have the worry some customers have with the smaller providers who can't afford to buy energy in.
TVF's London Lite.
all new Phil
Posts: 1793
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

I’m not really sure if I’ll be getting spanked in all honesty. I’m with Ovo and have been since I moved at the beginning of the year. Despite moving from a 1 bedroom flat to a 2 bedroom house I’m paying significantly less than I was. Is it not the case that the wholesale price rises won’t filter through until a few months into next year? I don’t really understand.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
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