Treat with caution
Please note that this message is not unique to GB energy supply but is issued for all new energy suppliers which have a limited track record, limited if any capital backing and which are unprofitable and / or have negative net assets. We are particularly cautious on those energy suppliers that take money from customer accounts before the customer comes on supply. We monitor new energy suppliers closely and should any of these circumstances change, for example a significant capital raise, then we will update our verdict accordingly.
As of 30 November 2016 Co-operative Energy has been appointed by Ofgem to take over GB energy supply customers. You can read more about this here.
To learn more about Co-operative Energy read our review here.
As of 26 November 2016 GB energy supply has ceased trading. This basically means that it has gone bust.
To learn more about what happened read our update here.
GB energy supply has posted the following update on its website. The review below is therefore somewhat academic. However, we have left it on the site as a historical record. Please read and enjoy!
GB energy supply is (was) a new energy supplier which began taking on customers from January 2015.
The company makes many bold, but not unique, claims about what they offer;
"Bringing a fresh approach to home energy supply"
"Making it easy and effortless to switch and save"
"By running a highly efficient business and keeping our own costs low, we're able to offer a better deal for you - helping you save money on your gas and electricity bills."
"We also want to simplify this confused market by offering an online product using the latest technology and not punish customers with switching and exit costs."
None of the above seems to us either novel or unique but let's not get in the way of a good story.
On top of this GB energy supply claim to keep costs down by...
"We do not spend a small fortune on TV, Radio, or other advertising."
"We keep our overheads to a minimum."
"We do not pay to appear on switching sites."
"We use efficient online processes as much as possible."
The company goes on to claim...
"GB Energy Supply aims to keep its costs right down and grow the business through word of mouth." It also pledges to make it simpler for consumers to switch providers, their new motto being "It's easy".
While their prices were certainly competitive - at least until they hiked their tariffs by 30%, GB energy supply, like many of the growing number of new suppliers that have entered the market recently, is still an unproven entity. In addition, there are several things about GB energy supply that make us cautious.
Firstly, they are somewhat over-enthusiastic in taking money from the customer's account. Your first direct debit is taken from your account one week after at the end of the cooling off period. This is 21 days from application date. Physical supply however may not start until up to 21 days after payment is taken. This means that most customers pay up front - before they are even on supply. This means that you, the customer, are effectively funding the working capital to run the business.
Secondly, the company has negative net assets. It has equity capital of just £1000. To year-end 31 December 2015, the company reported pre-tax losses of £788k on revenues of £22.2m.
It is not unusual for a start up to incur losses; most do in setting up the business. However, with equity capital grossly insufficient to cover first year losses, it means that, should GB energy supply get into financial difficulties, then customers who have paid in advance, as unsecured creditors, risk losing those payments.
On top of that we have some concerns about where customers' money is going. Again it is not unusual for companies to deal with related party interests, particularly when small. However, GB energy supply is no longer a small company. What concerns us is that Parties related to GB energy supply are getting paid from cash generated from customer prepayments even while GB energy supply is losing money. To us, the principal party at risk here seems to be the customer.
GB energy supply is a new gas and electricity supplier which has now ceased trading. It launched its first tariff in January 2015 and entered the domestic energy supply market fully in April 2015.
The Company operates from offices in Broughton, within Preston.
GB energy supply offers a simple range of tariffs for customers who want to pay by Monthly Direct Debit (in advance) and to manage their account online.
GB energy supply offers gas only, electricity only and dual fuel tariffs.
GB energy supply does not supply prepayment meter customers.
GB energy supply is not signed up to the Warm Home Discount scheme.
Based on our review, we award GB energy supply No Stars.
Our service rating is based on the proportion of switches undertaken on the TheEnergyShop.com switching platform that complete successfully first time around. As we do not deal with GB energy supply for customer sign-ups we have no insights into how good or bad their processes are. As such we have not awarded them a service rating. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that they are poor but, if you are switching to them, you are strongly advised to do your own due diligence.
GB energy supply is NOT signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee.
|Company name||GB ENERGY SUPPLY LIMITED|
|Registered Office Address||842 Garstang Road, |
Preston PR3 5AA
|Date of incorporation||23 April 2013|
|Directors (3)||Phillip Darwick|
|Brett Austin Trevalyan|
|Luke Philip Watson|
|Company Secretary||Grant Findlay|
|Supply licence(s) granted - gas||29 October 2015|
|Supply licence(s) granted - electricity||No record on the Ofgem website when an |
electricity license was granted
|Began selling energy to domestic consumers||January 2015|
All suppliers, including GB energy supply, are required to provide information about the mix of fuels they use to generate the electricity they supply to their customers. They also need to disclose the environmental impact of this fuel mix.
This information is known as the Fuel Mix Disclosure and is published annually.
GB energy supply has not yet published its fuel mix disclosure so we are unable to review it here.
In this section we review the published financial results for GB energy supply Limited.
|Year ended||31 December 2015|
|Income Statement (£)|
|Profit before tax||(787,522)|
|Balance Sheet (£)|
|Net current assets||(902,157)|
|Capital and Reserves (£)|
|Profit and loss account||(630,018)|
There are a number of interesting features of these accounts which are briefly discussed below.
Although the company claims it does "not spend a small fortune on TV, Radio, or other advertising" it did nevertheless pay away £3.7 million in distribution costs during the year.
Much of these distribution costs appear to have been paid to businesses related to the Directors and Officers of the business.
During 2015 the company made the following related party transactions.
GB energy supply limited made purchases of over £1.2 million from MyOffers Limited. MyOffers Limited operates a website which claims to be "The UK's No.1 competition, prize & free stuff site". Brett Trevalyan, a director of GB energy supply limited is also a director of My Offers Limited.
GB energy supply limited purchased services of over £1.3 million from CGF Marketing Services Limited. It is difficult to pin down what CGF Marketing Services Limited does, but it appears to be an outsourcing business of sorts.
GB energy supply disclosed that Brett Trevalyan, a director of GB energy supply, is a shareholder CGF Marketing Services Limited. We have looked into the Companies House records for CGF Marketing Services Limited (Company Number 02151319) and can find no record that Brett Trevalyan has a direct shareholder of CGF Marketing Services Limited. It is possible that he has an indirect holding in the Company through another company called Wallingford Limited which in turn has a shareholding in CGF Marketing Services Limited (and which also has a holding GB Energy Supply Limited). We do note however that a Mr Grant Findlay is company secretary of both CGF Marketing Services Limited and GB Energy Supply Limited and is also a shareholder of CGF Marketing Services Limited.
The most notable feature of the accounts is that, despite losing £630k during the year, GB energy supply still managed to accrue Cash Balances of £1.8 million. How was this possible? The company collects payments in advance from consumers but does not pay for energy purchases until much later. As such each new customer adds to the cashflow, and the cash balance of the business. This type of cash management works providing that (a) the company keeps growing its customer base and (b) it eventually acquires enough customers to attain overall profitability. If the company stops growing or, worse still, starts losing customers then cashflow will reverse and, if the company is still not profitable when that happens it can quickly become insolvent.
And that is why we consider GB energy supply to be a high risk business and why we give it a treat with caution recommendation.
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