Bulb collapse shows public energy supplier needed

Government action to buy energy for consumers would limit pain

Commenting on the news today (Monday) that Bulb, the UK’s seventh largest energy supplier is to be put into special administration, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“This is entirely a mess of the government’s making. Allowing the market to decide solely how energy is supplied was always going to end badly.

“Every time a company goes under, it’s energy customers that pick up the tab. Bulb’s collapse could mean as much as £150 extra for each household on next year’s energy bills.

“That’s on top of the £150 everyone will already be paying for the numerous other suppliers who’ve gone to the wall since the summer. These huge hikes will hit everyone – and low-income families the hardest.

“But instead of watching from the sidelines, the government needs to take action. Bulb is too large for any of the big five energy companies to take on its 1.7m customers. It will now come under the special administrator regime, requiring significant life support from the public purse.

“Bulb also won’t be the last energy supplier to fail. Ministers must bring all companies that supply the UK’s energy consumers into public ownership.

“Then the government could start buying energy on behalf of all UK homes and businesses, limiting the financial pain for everyone. This move would also help kickstart the much-needed energy efficiency programme, reduce the cost of bills and save the environment.”

Notes to editors:
-The big five energy firms are Centrica, OVO, E.ON, Scottish Power and EDF. In 2019, UNISON set out how bringing the retail arms of these companies into public ownership would mean multiple benefits, for families, business and the environment.
-UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk