Octopus Energy seals bid to take over 1.5 million Bulb customers | UK News

Octopus Energy has sealed its deal to buy Bulb, a collapsed energy rival that has been funded by billions of pounds in government support for nearly a year.

Octopus said it is taking on Bulb’s 1.5 million customers “bringing an end to taxpayer losses and uncertainty for Bulb customers and employees”.

It added: “Octopus is paying the government to take on Bulb’s customer base – it is believed that this will represent a higher amount per customer than suppliers typically paid to take on any of the 29 suppliers who have failed since September 2021.

“Taxpayers will also benefit from a profit share agreement for a period of up to four years.”

It comes after Ovo Energy launched an 11th-hour bid to prevent Octopus from swallowing the nationalised supplier.

Ovo submitted an offer for Bulb soon after it collapsed into insolvency a year ago but subsequently pulled out of the auction.

Taxpayers’ rescue of Bulb is set to cost the government up to £4bn, Sky News revealed earlier, with that figure including temporary funding provided as part of a sale to Octopus.

Bulb Energy Press kit Picture

A significant supply failure

Bulb’s collapse in November 2021 was the most significant among dozens of supplier failures, with Ofgem, the industry regulator, facing heavy criticism for its approach to licensing new entrants to the market.

The government has already been forced to spend billions of pounds buying gas to supply Bulb customers because the company did not hedge its purchases in order to fix its cost base.

Wholesale gas prices have soared over the last year, with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine having a particularly pronounced impact on global energy markets.

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That would allow the buyer to secure sufficient forward supplies of gas to steer the company through the winter months.

Octopus intends to repay the roughly-£1bn government funding over a period lasting a number of months, according to sources close to the situation.