Britain’s sixth-largest energy company, Bulb, is seeking a bailout as a rise in wholesale gas prices threatens to cause chaos for the industry.
The energy startup, which provides electricity and gas to about 1.7 million customers, is reportedly working with financial advisory firm Lazard to help it secure new sources of funding.
Options currently being explored by the firm include raising funds from investors, a potential joint venture or merger with another company. financial Times.
A spokesperson for Bulb said: “From time to time we explore various opportunities to finance our business plans and further our mission of reducing bills and reducing CO2.
“Like everyone in the industry, we are monitoring wholesale prices and their impact on our business.”
It comes after four smaller energy suppliers announced that they would cease trading amid rising prices in recent weeks. There are currently around 70 energy suppliers in the UK, although industry sources have warned the BBC this could drop to ten by the end of the year.
Earlier this month, PfP Energy and MoneyPlus energy providers confirmed they would go out of business – leaving some 100,000 customers looking for a new supplier.
When a supplier fails, energy regulator Ofgem moves customers to another retailer to make sure supplies continue and they don’t run out of money. A new supplier is then responsible for taking over any credit balances from a customer’s previous account.
According to industry group Oil & Gas UK, wholesale gas prices have risen 250 percent since January, with a 70 percent increase since August.
The minister is engaged in crisis talks with senior industry executives in an effort to resolve the crisis.
Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng is due to hold further talks with the energy industry and consumer groups on Monday. Mr Quarteng acknowledged it was a “worrisome time for businesses and consumers”, but said he was confident the energy supply would remain in place.
“Energy security will always be our top priority,” he tweeted on Sunday. “The UK benefits from a variety of gas supply sources – both domestic, and from reliable import partners such as Norway.”
The rise in gas prices has been attributed to a number of factors, including a cold winter that caused stocks to plummet, high demand for liquefied natural gas from Asia and lack of supply from Russia.
The news comes amid fresh warnings that supermarket shelves could be left empty within days as a result of a price hike, which has also hit carbon dioxide (CO2) supplies. The gas is essential for the refrigeration and distribution of products such as packaging used in poultry and salads.
Two large fertilizer plants in Teesside and Cheshire, which produce CO2 as a by-product, have closed as a result of price increases. Food industry bosses have warned that the problem is a “national security issue” that must be dealt with immediately.
Bernard Mathews and 2 Sisters Food Group owner Ranjit Singh Boparan said both a shortage of carbon dioxide and workers would hit turkey supplies for Christmas.
He said, “Christmas and Bernard Matthews and my other poultry businesses are working harder than ever to try and recruit people to maintain the food supply until less than 100 days. left,” he said.
Granthshala The Department of Trade, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been contacted for comment.
PA. Additional reporting by
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