Northern Ireland

Electricity supplier Open Electric goes into administration

Fuse box Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Open Electric had about 1,100 customers in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland electricity supplier Open Electric has gone into administration.

All its customers have automatically been moved to Power NI. Open launched in August 2015 and had about 1,100 domestic customers.

Customers who pay by direct debit, or pay when they receive a bill, do not need to do anything further at present.

However, they will need to contact Power NI to set-up payment options as bank details have not been passed on.

Customers who have a pay as you go meter will need to contact Power NI to receive a new keypad number in order to top-up their meter, but their supply will not be affected.

Jenny Pyper, chief executive of the Utility Regulator, said: "Open Electric is a small firm. We have seen a number of new suppliers come into the market over the last 18 months and that's good, we want a healthy competitive market

"But they came into the market whenever wholesale international gas prices were low, we've seen increases in those gas prices over recent weeks.

"The regulator has been monitoring all suppliers and monitoring prices and I think this small supplier has just found it difficult as prices have gone up to maintain its position in the market."

Image caption Jenny Pyper said a rise in wholesale gas prices had made things difficult for the company

John French, chief executive of the Consumer Council, said the announcement was unwelcome news for Open Electric and its customers.

"However, we would like to advise Open Electric customers that there will be no interruption to their electricity supply, as they will already have been automatically transferred to Power NI," he said.

"Power NI will be emailing Open Electric customers today informing them of the situation and what they need to do.

"The Utility Regulator has also produced a useful Questions and Answer factsheet, which is available on their website."

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