EDF snaps up failing iSupply Energy & its customers

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Customers of the Bournemouth-based provider iSupply Energy will soon be paying their bills to EDF Energy. Read on for more information and analysis from Selectra. What are the details of EDF Energy’s takeover of iSupply Energy?

Who is EDF and iSupply?

iSupply Energy’s owner, state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, has decided to leave the UK domestic energy market and sell its customers to the French-government-backed EDF Energy.

Around 190,000 households signed up to iSupply Energy will join EDF’s approximately five-million-strong UK residential customer base.

The Swedish giant’s exit comes just two-and-a-half years after it entered the UK domestic energy business. The provider was hit by a £1.5m fine from Ofgem in December when it was found to have been charging customers over the odds.

The move puts the future of its 250 workers into doubt and customers could see an impact on the quality of customer care they receive. Monica Collings, co-CEO of the Bournemouth-based utility, said the firm had been working “to achieve the best outcome possible for our customers and employees.”

"We have a brilliant team who are dedicated to looking after customers and enjoy working together,” she said.

Vice-president of customers and solutions for Vattenfall Netherlands and UK Cindy Kroon said the parent company was “confident iSupply Energy customers will be very well looked after throughout the transition and will pay no more for energy supplied by EDF.”

"Having stepped out of energy retail, we can focus greater attention on developing our other businesses in the UK," she said. Energy regulator Ofgem has already been informed of the deal.

As an iSupply Energy customer, what do I need to know?

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If you’re happy to move to EDF Energy and if everything goes well you won’t need to do anything.

EDF has said it will contact you and it expects your account should be transferred to the French energy giant sometime between April and the end of June. There should be no interruption to your supply.

Your current direct debit arrangements are to be moved to EDF with the amount and dates remaining the same. Your account will then be reviewed by EDF every six months to ensure you’re paying the right amount according to your energy usage.

Your bill will also be sent once every six months instead of once every three months as happened with iSupply Energy. However, your bills, usage statistics and payment history should all be available to check whenever you want via the EDF MyAccount web page or app.

If you pay for your energy by cash or cheque your monthly bills should continue. Prepayment customers should still receive their bills once a year. iSupply Energy has said that the move will not mean a rise in prices for you if you’re on a fixed term tariff and that the length of your contract will not change.

If you’re on an iSupply Energy variable tariff, you'll be moved onto an EDF Energy fixed default tariff with the price set at whatever rate you’re paying at the time you are transferred. This price will remain unchanged until the 30th of September 2020.

A spokesperson for EDF Energy, the UK’s largest low-carbon electricity producer, said the provider was “committed to growing its retail business in the UK so it can support as many customers as possible on the journey to net zero emissions.”

"iSupply Energy customers will be able to benefit from low carbon energy alongside our industry-leading customer service, and do not need to do anything at this time,” the spokesperson said. “Their supply will continue as normal and we will be in touch with them shortly to explain any new arrangements.”

Will EDF Energy’s takeover of iSupply Energy affect customer care?

Every time a smaller energy supplier is gobbled up by a larger utility company it means there is less choice out there for consumers. It also means less competition for the Big Six energy giants and so less pressure to reduce high prices and deliver better customer service.

Statements from companies that customers won’t be losing out financially and contract terms won’t be altered following an acquisition like this can’t be taken at face value.

The firms involved may try to ensure these terms apply to a fair amount of people but this isn’t guaranteed and iSupply Energy customers could be switched to a worse tariff without notification.

For example, as the same tariffs from the same supplier vary across the country due to geography, it’s possible some iSupply Energy customers could find themselves with larger bills because EDF Energy charges a higher price in their particular area.

What’s more, while iSupply Energy said it is working on making the transfer of customer accounts “seamless”, such movements of vast amounts of data raises accuracy and privacy concerns.

Often companies use incompatible technology platforms and errors, delays and privacy breaches are not uncommon in these situations. Another thing to bear in mind is that promises made by a company abandoning its customers to another firm are not necessarily reliable.

Once the deal is done, Vattenfall won’t be in a position to influence the service, prices and care offered to its ex-customers. The Swedish company will be busy concentrating on expanding its remaining UK interests in the areas of renewable power generation, business to business sales, distribution and heating.

Should iSupply Energy’s customers stick with EDF Energy or switch?

It’s important to stay informed about what your supplier is doing and keep control of your energy spending, especially at this time of immense economic turmoil. To ensure you’re getting the best deal you should always have one eye on the rest of the market and compare the available tariffs.

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