The Belfast-based green energy supplier has announced it’s leaving the Irish market due to increases in the price of energy on the wholesale market.
Bright Energy has announced that it's exiting the Irish market following a strategic review of its operations here.
The energy supplier is the first casualty of the energy crisis that has engulfed the sector over the past year.
It has cited the rapid increase in the price of energy on wholesale markets as the reason for ceasing trading.
Bright launched in July 2020 with a unique offering of one, single variable tariff for all customers.
It is the first energy supplier to officially exit the market since Just Energy's departure in 2019.
A spokesperson for the company said:
The difficult decision was made as a consequence of ongoing market challenges and the relentless rise in wholesale energy prices, which are more than 200% higher than when Bright launched in 2020.
So, this begs the question, what can customers of Bright expect in the coming days and weeks?
I’m a Bright customer - what do I need to know?
In a statement, Bright said it will cease trading in February. However, customers of Bright should not be worried as their electricity supply will not be interrupted.
In order to formally exit the market, Bright has to notify the energy regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and has already completed this. By doing this, it allows the CRU to initiate what’s known as the Supplier of Last Resort procedure, which is also underway.
So, in Bright’s case, all 1,300 or so of its remaining customers will be automatically moved to Electric Ireland from 26th January to ensure continuity of supply.
Bright originally had around 8,000 customers but had encouraged these to move to a new supplier late last year in advance of today's official announcement.
How will the transfer work?
This transfer period will last for 20 days during which time Electric Ireland will contact each affected customer to help them figure out what they would like to do.
If you are currently with Bright you’ll either be able to stay on with Electric Ireland and choose which tariff you’d like for electricity, or alternatively move to a separate supplier of your choosing. However, there is a restriction on switching for a period which we’ll explain shortly.
In a statement, CRU Commissioner Aoife MacEvily confirmed that existing Bright customers don’t need to take any action right now.
While the decision by Bright Energy to exit the supply market is regrettable, the Supplier of Last Resort process ensures that this will not negatively impact customers.
There remain thirteen electricity and eight gas suppliers in the domestic supply market. These provide a wide range of tariffs and choices for customers to suit their needs.
Will the exit cost customers money?
When an energy supplier here closes its business customers will pay the standard rate with their new supplier, or supplier of last resort.
So, Bright customers being moved will be charged Electric Ireland’s standard rate.
Importantly, the CRU says that any credit built up between you and your old supplier, Bright in this case, will not be passed on to your new supplier unfortunately. This is because your new supplier, or Electric Ireland, does not have access to your old supplier’s billing system.
In short, if you want to make sure you’re paying the cheapest for your energy make sure and compare the market here on bonkers.ie for a new supplier and the cheapest tariff for you.
However, there is a short restriction on switching…
Why is there a restriction on switching and for how long?
It’s important to note that there is a restriction on switching for Bright customers for a period of time determined by the CRU. This period is considered necessary to make sure customers’ supply goes uninterrupted and that the supplier of last resort can act quickly.
This restriction also allows the new supplier to effectively manage the supply of potentially large numbers of new customers and to facilitate the issuing of bills.
What happened to Bright?
When Bright initially launched in the summer of 2020 it began with a very different offering for customers in that it only had one tariff available for everyone; a single variable tariff. Customers weren't bound by any contracts either.
This tariff allowed the energy provider to offer a lower unit rate to customers with a promise that it wouldn’t increase dramatically after the first year.
However, because the tariff tracked the wholesale energy market, when prices started to rise Bright had to pass on these costs to customers.
This is one of, if not the main reason, why Bright implemented three considerable price increases for its customers by the end of 2021.
The strain of competition also proved too strong for the newcomer, which has been forced to close.
Looking for a new electricity supplier?
With Bright Energy’s exit on the horizon, many will be wondering what other options they have. If you’re a Bright customer and want to evaluate what’s on offer from other suppliers, head over to our energy comparison page.
It’s quick and easy to find the cheapest deals on the market on bonkers.ie. Despite Bright’s exit, there are still many other energy suppliers in the Irish market, meaning you’ll have plenty of choice!
Take a look at our guide on how to compare energy suppliers to learn more about the process and check out these 7 things to consider when switching energy supplier to make a fully informed decision.