More than 100,000 customers of Spark Energy, the supplier which was taken over by Ovo Energy in November last year, have been contacted by third parties in relation to unpaid debts.
Administrators KPMG confirmed 130,000 customers were contacted by debt collectors, causing confusion among some as they were unaware they owed money.
The third parties contacted customers on behalf of KPMG relating to debt before the supplier of last resort (SoLR) process was invoked.
In response a Spark Energy spokesperson said: “We are aware that during the transition process administrators are collecting pre-SoLR debt, which may have confused customers.
“With this in mind we have made proactive efforts to work with the administrators and communicate with customers as clearly as possible.”
Ofgem has confirmed it is aware of the communications and that it is in touch with Ovo about the matter.
Meanwhile a spokesperson from Resolver told Utility Week it has seen “a spike in complaints” about Spark Energy because of the issue.
Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden of KPMG LLP were appointed as the administrators of Spark Energy Supply Limited (“SESL”) on 28 November.
KPMG has confirmed it is the role of the joint administrators to collect the assets of SESL “for the benefit of those parties owed money by the company”.
According to KPMG, use of third party agents was “the only feasible means” of making contact with the thousands of customers of Spark.
A spokesperson said:“The largest outstanding asset was sums owed by customers for the supply of electricity and gas prior to the administration appointment.
“Ovo Energy, following an Ofgem-led SoLR process, assumed responsibility for ongoing supply of electricity and gas to those customers with effect from 28 November 2018.
“As part of the SoLR process, Ovo Energy is applying customer payments towards the future supply of electricity and gas.
“As such, this has required the joint administrators, via appointed third party agents, to make contact with customers and seek payment of the pre-administration energy consumption according to SESL’s energy supply records.”
Money Saving Expert founder, Martin Lewis has called on Ofgem to “urgently intervene” as the website suggests several customers continued to make payments as normal and had “no idea they owed money”.
He said: “The Ofgem safety net is supposed to ensure continuity of supply and operation. This clearly falls foul of the spirit of that safety net if not the letter of it.”