Solarplicity ordered to pay Feed-in Tariff generators

The supplier was previously banned from taking on new customers due to its poor switching process and customer service

Small energy supplier Solarplicity has been ordered by Ofgem to pay the outstanding money owed to Feed-in Tariff generators.

The FiT scheme, which ended in April 2019, aimed to promote the uptake of renewables and low carbon power technologies and required participating suppliers to make payments on both generation and export from eligible installations.

Solarplicity has been issued with a provisional order as Ofgem understands the company failed to pay a number of generators despite receiving FiT levelisation payments, which should allow it to do so.

The company has been ordered to pay the outstanding money by 16th May 2019, make all future FiT payments that become due to generators by the relevant due dates and not give any preference to generators connected to Solarplicity in any way.

It must also report back to Ofgem on the process of the actions set out in the provisional order, which will remain in place for up to three months, unless it is confirmed.

It is the second provisional order slapped by Ofgem – the regulator previously banned Solarplicity from taking on new customers due to its poor switching process and customer service.

Anthony Pygram, Director of Conduct and Enforcement said: “Not paying FiT generators will impact their finances and affect their viability, which is why we are taking swift action to ensure that Solarplicity makes the payments due.

“Suppliers must comply with their obligations and if they do not, ultimately we can take steps to revoke their licence.”

The issuing of a provisional order does not imply Ofgem has found conclusive evidence of a breach at this stage.

Solarplicity’s response

Solarplicity said it is “disappointed” Ofgem has chosen to issue the provisional order “in circumstances where we are already complying with the requirements it sets out”.

A spokesperson added: “Solarplicity has offered voluntary undertakings to Ofgem to assure Ofgem of continued compliance and has proposed additional arrangements above and beyond Solarplicity’s obligations around payment handling.

“Ofgem did not engage with Solarplicity prior to issuing the provisional order to understand the robust processes Solarplicity has in place, or the arrangements we have made in respect of FiT generator payments.

“Earlier this year, Ofgem imposed restrictions on Solarplicity’s business under a separate Provisional Order which remains subject to consultation and legal appeal. Following this, however, Solarplicity made arrangements to ensure FiT generators would continue to receive FiT payments. All payments due to FiT generators are being made and arrangements are in place to make all future payments.

“The previous Provisional Order related to issues Ofgem identified with Solarplicity’s complaints handling, customer contact, vulnerable customer identification and switching/contracts renewals process.  Solarplicity has rectified all issues identified by Ofgem and is now demonstrating performance equal to or above comparable suppliers across all areas. Solarplicity fully expects that the restrictions imposed by the previous provisional order will be lifted on or before Ofgem’s decision deadline of 22 May 2019.”

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