Bulb's sale to Octopus Energy faces more delays

Octopus Energy struck a deal for Bulb
Last year, Bulb was the largest energy supplier to collapse as energy prices soared above the regulator's price cap, and it sold energy at a loss. Photo: Press Association

The sale of energy supplier Bulb to its rival Octopus has been hit with further delays amid court challenges to the UK government’s decision.

The deal was expected to receive the green light this week, but Bloomberg reported that lawyers of the administrators have revealed that rival suppliers are pushing for a judicial review.

These competitors include Centrica’s (CNA.L) British Gas, Iberdrola’s Scottish Power, and EON.

“It is worth observing at the outset that the intervening energy companies each had an opportunity to participate in the sales process,” Richard Fisher, a lawyer representing Teneo who are overseeing the sale, said in court documents.

“All could have sought meetings with the administrators or government had they wished to investigate different funding options.”

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Last year, Bulb was the largest energy supplier to collapse as energy prices soared above the regulator's price cap, and it sold energy at a loss.

Throughout 2022 this has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The British government is facing a roughly £6.5bn bill for its special administration, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Octopus sealed a deal to take on beleaguered firm, which has around 1.4 million customers, at the end of October.

It came as Ofgem ordered energy supplier Delta to pay £57,000 immediately after it failed to meet its renewables obligations, and provide information for its Supplier of Last Resort scheme.

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Delta, which serves 1,690 UK business customers, must provide the missing information by 5pm on 5 December, or further enforcement action.

Cathryn Scott, Ofgem’s director for enforcement and emerging issues, said: “These challenging times are no excuse for poor performance from energy suppliers. Suppliers have a legal duty to comply with their obligations to provide us with full and accurate information and to participate in important renewable energy schemes.

“Delta has failed in this instance, which undermines the schemes’ integrity. We have always been clear that failure to comply fully and promptly with our requests for information has the potential to disrupt the processes in place to protect consumers.”

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