Nabuh and Symbio issued with final orders by Ofgem

30 October 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Two energy providers face losing their licences unless they make their Renewables Obligation (RO) payments quickly.

Nabuh Energy owe almost £2.7m while Symbio Energy have a payment for £500,000 still outstanding ahead of the 31 October late payment deadline.

Robin Hood Energy were also issued with a final order for their outstanding £12m, but they collapsed in September and transferred all their customers to British Gas.

Other providers named by Ofgem as likely to miss the final payment deadline have paid in full, given satisfactory assurances that they will or, in the case of Tonik Energy, already folded.

home electricity
Credit: Africa Studio/

Nabuh Energy

Nabuh Energy have failed to pay £2.68m in RO payments, missing the original deadline and failing to provide sufficient assurances to Ofgem that they will make the 31 October deadline for late payments.

The energy company, based in Sheffield, focus on prepayment gas and electricity customers rather than traditional meters.

They say they offer something different to their 50,000 customers who prefer to prepay for their energy rather than paying retrospectively for the energy they use.

Just a few weeks ago, Nabuh appointed KPMG to support them in the development of their growth plans and explore investment options.

This appointment suggests they didn't believe they would miss the RO deadline as enforcement action from Ofgem could stymie their growth plans.

In 2019, Nabuh made payment just after the late payment deadline.

Symbio Energy

Symbio only owe a fifth of the amount Nabuh owe, but the outstanding £500,000 has given Ofgem cause to issue a final order.

The provider challenged Ofgem in court on 28 October, arguing they should be given immediate injunctive relief, but the judge disagreed and that paved the way for Ofgem to threaten the supplier with the loss of their energy licence.

Ofgem have reiterated they believe the enforcement action they are taking is reasonable, proportionate and lawful.

Ofgem's public warnings

Just like last year, Ofgem took the step of naming the suppliers they expected to struggle to make their RO payments by the late payment deadline.

Their predictions were largely correct in 2019 with three suppliers collapsing over the following year, although whether the bad publicity surrounding Ofgem's announcement had anything to do with the collapses of Toto Energy and Gnergy is up for debate.

This year, Tonik Energy collapsed within days of Ofgem issuing their public warning, but payment was made by MA Energy.

Co-operative Energy and scrapped subsidiary Flow Energy provided Ofgem with satisfactory assurances they would pay in full by the late payment deadline.

We'll have to wait to see if those assurances were accurate, but with Co-op now backed by Octopus Energy, it seems likely both brands will pay what they are owed.

Energy companies are required to either provide Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to prove they have sourced enough of their energy from renewable sources or pay into the buy-out fund by 31 August each year.

If a provider misses that first deadline, they can pay in full with interest added by the late payment deadline of 31 October. If this second deadline is missed, Ofgem will take enforcement action.

The problem with suppliers missing their Renewables Obligation payments is that the shortfall must be made up through a mutualisation process, so other suppliers end up footing the bill for providers falling short on their commitments.

How much could you save on your energy bill?

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations and climate positive

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we have a climate positive workforce.

Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter