Flow Energy

Flow Energy was an independent UK energy supplier that went bust in May 2018. Although predominantly a domestic energy supplier, it also developed a household boiler that provided heating and hot water while also generating low-carbon electricity that was fed back to the local distribution network.

In 2016, Flow Energy was one of two energy suppliers to be awarded Which? Provider of the Year, pulling in customer satisfaction scores of customer score of 73% - for context, the overall industry average is 53%.

In April 2018, it sold its boiler technology business to iGEN Technologies Inc. of Canada, before selling its energy supply business to Co-operative Energy in May 2018. The Flow Energy company was subsequently de-listed and entered administration in November that year.

That wasn't the end of the story though - in 2019, Octopus Energy agreed to take on all 300,000 customers supplied by Co-operative Energy, GB Energy and Flow Energy after a buyout was given the go ahead.

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Why did Flow Energy go bust?

Unlike many energy companies that go bust, Flow Energy was doing well, with a thriving energy supply and boiler tech business. This led to interest from Co-operative Energy who then bought out the domestic energy supply arm of the business.

Flow's disappearance from the market wasn't so much a case of it going bust, but more a case of it being bought out by a larger competitor.

What happened when Flow Energy went bust?

Normally, when an energy supplier goes bust, Ofgem puts offers its customer base to other energy suppliers, who must then bid to win the contracts - it's not all about money though, and any interested suppliers must prove they can meet the added demand and financial burden.

Once the bids are in, Ofgem chooses its preferred supplier, which is known as a supplier of last resort (SoLR).

This process is in place as part of the Ofgem Safety Net, which ensures households aren't left without gas and electricity in the event of their supplier going bust.

In the case of Flow Energy though, its customer base was bought out first by Co-operative Energy and then by Octopus Energy. This buyout by Octopus Energy has seen it reach the million-customer mark become one of the UK energy market's biggest challenger brands, behind Ovo, Bulb and the big six.

As part of the takeover, Octopus Energy agreed to honour all current fixed energy deals, and assured customers on variable rate deals that their prices would either drop or stay the same.

The major change for Flow Energy customers would be that their energy supply and billing would now be provided by Octopus Energy.

What to do if your energy supplier goes bust

Once an SoLR has been appointed it will be in touch to tell you what happens next. When this happens, it's time to compare energy prices and switch as soon as possible, as it's likely the SoLR will put you on its standard rate tariff or onto deemed rates, both of which will be among its most expensive price plans.

It's important to avoid switching switching suppliers until your SoLR has been appointed, to avoid any potential complications, but once a new supplier is in place you should make the change as soon as possible.

You won't be tied into a deal with your SoLR, which means you can switch supplier at any time without getting hit by a penalty charge, even if the tariff you had with your previous supplier included an early exit fee.

If you were in credit with your energy supplier when it went bust, the SoLR appointed by Ofgem should pay back any money owed to you, which could be in the form of credit on your new account.

If you were in debt when your supplier went bust, you'll either have to pay this debt to the new supplier, or else have to pay it back to your old supplier through the administrator.

If you have a prepayment energy meter, you'll also be fully covered by the Ofgem safety net. If you've got credit on your key, card or token, you'll be able to use it on your new account. If you need more credit, contact your new supplier to find out what you need to do, and if you'll need any additional equipment.

How to switch energy supplier

Switching energy suppliers is simple with The Energy Shop - simply pop your postcode in the box at the top of the page to get started.

It helps if you have a copy of your latest energy bill to hand when switching, as we need to take some details on your current energy deal and usage.

Once we have this information, we'll then show you a list of the best energy deals currently available.

All you then need to do is choose the one you like best, and we'll take care of the rest of the switch - you'll be with your new supplier within 21 days, and there'll be no disruption to your supply.

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