Sheffield energy supplier ordered to pay nearly £900,000 or risk losing its licence

A Sheffield energy supplier has been ordered to stump up nearly £900,000 in unpaid green duties or risk losing its licence.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 1st November 2019, 10:02 am
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 5:13 pm

Nabuh Energy, which is based in the city centre, has been issued with a ‘provisional order’ by the regulator Ofgem after failing to prove it sourced enough energy from renewable sources or paying the fee for not doing so by the August 31 deadline.

Ofgem yesterday told the firm it must pay £872,000 plus interest in so-called ‘Renewables Obligations’ immediately or the watchdog will take ‘further action’ which it warned ‘may ultimately lead to the revocation of its licence’.

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Nabuh Energy is based at The Balance in Sheffield city centre

The order comes just weeks after Citizens Advice placed Nabuh in the bottom three of its quarterly rankings and urged customers to look beyond ‘attention-grabbing’ low tariffs following the failure of 13 suppliers in less than a year.

But Nabuh today insisted the order from Ofgem was ‘not a cause for concern’ for any of its suppliers or customers.

The company said it had already made a significant payment towards its Renewable Obligations and had assured Ofgem the balance would be settled by next Friday, November 8.

It blamed the delay on the large proportion of its customers with prepayment meters, which means its income peaks during the autumn and winter, unlike other energy suppliers whose customers mostly spread their costs evenly over the year.

In a statement, the company said: “Nabuh’s growth has been significant over the course of the past 12 months. Growth at this rate puts a degree of pressure on the business during the spring and summer months.

“It was anticipated that additional funding would be required to meet the RO payment before Nabuh enters the winter months. Additional funding has been arranged and agreed however due to circumstances beyond the control of Nabuh, we have experienced delays which have caused a delay in the full payment of our RO obligations.

“Ofgem have been made aware that the balance of any RO monies due from Nabuh will be paid on or before November 8, 2019.

“We take our regulatory and environmental obligations very seriously and would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers and suppliers for any concern that this issue may have caused.”

Ofgem said Nabuh Energy had assured the regulator it would meet its obligations by yesterday, October 31, but failed to do so.

“Nabuh Energy is required to make the necessary payment immediately. If it does not, Ofgem will take further action to enforce payment, which may ultimately lead to the revocation of its licence,” it added.

It said the issuing of a provisional order did not imply Ofgem had found ‘conclusive evidence’ of a breach at this stage.

The Renewables Obligations scheme was set up by the Government to support large-scale renewable electricity projects in the UK.

Nabuh Energy only went live in July 2017 but at the start of last year told how it was signing up 200 customers a day by challenging the ‘Big Six’ on price, customer service, sustainability and technology.

In January 2018, chief executive Klaus Bach said it already had 7,000 customers and hoped to have 80,000 by the end of that year and to employ 25 staff at its head office on Pinfold Street and 50 in a shared call centre in the city.

The company, whose last accounts showed its net worth was -£1.25 million at the end of 2018, did not respond when asked how many customers and staff it has today.