The CRU has received formal notification from Bright Energy of its intention to exit the electricity supply market. The CRU has initiated the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) procedure to ensure that customers’ electricity supply is not interrupted and that their consumer rights are protected.
Under the CRU customer protection protocols, Electric Ireland are the designated electricity supplier of last resort, and all Bright Energy customers will automatically transfer to Electric Ireland as of 26th January for a minimum period of 20 business days. The CRU has directed Electric Ireland to engage with the affected customers to inform them of this change and of their future options of energy supply.
Customers do not need to take any immediate action and their electricity supply will not be interrupted. Electric Ireland will contact customers directly within 5 business days to offer customers a tariff to remain with them or provide these customers with the option of switching to another supplier after the minimum 20 business days period.
The CRU has been engaging with Bright Energy on their intentions to exit the marketplace. Bright Energy have also engaged with other suppliers in the marketplace to facilitate the switching of its existing customer base and has now taken the decision to request the SoLR process for its remaining customers.
Suppliers of Last Resort
Suppliers of Last Resort are intended to provide protection and security to consumers and will ensure the continuity of service for customers whose chosen supplier ceases to trade or is no longer in a position to supply a customer with energy.
The responsibilities of the Supplier of Last Resort are to ensure continuity of supply for customers of an exiting supplier, provide these customers with the option of choosing a new supplier or to remain with the designated SoLR. Customers will be provided service from the SoLR for a minimum of 20 business days from 26th January and can remain with Electric Ireland after that or decide to switch to another supplier.
The objective of the SoLR legislation and associated procedures is to protect energy customers by giving the Commission for Regulation of Utilities the power to appoint a Supplier of Last Resort to supply electricity or gas to customers in circumstances where their supplier has its supply licence revoked or is no longer able to supply them.
Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are currently designated as the electricity and gas suppliers of last resort respectively.
Commenting on the decision Commissioner Aoife MacEvilly said: “The CRU’s decision to direct the Supplier of Last Resort process will ensure that Bright Energy customers will not have any interruption to their electricity supply. Customers do not need to take any immediate action and will be contacted on their options by Electric Ireland. Customers will initially transfer at Electric Ireland’s standard variable tariff, which is lower than the Bright Energy tariff they were on. Following a short period, these customers can then shop around or switch to another supplier or tariff option.”
“While the decision by Bright Energy to exit the supply market is regrettable, the Supplier of Last Resort process ensures that this will not negatively impact customers. There remain fifteen electricity and eight gas suppliers in the domestic supply market. These provide a wide range of tariffs and choices for customers to suit their needs. Given the current high energy market prices, it is more important than ever that customers continue to look to switch supplier or renegotiate with their current supplier to ensure they are on the best value tariff or service for their needs.