Robin Hood Energy fails to pay £9.4m in subsidies

2 October 2019 (Last Updated October 2nd, 2019 12:36)

Robin Hood Energy has failed to pass on £9.4m in renewable energy subsidies to UK industry regulator Ofgem by the 1 September 2019 deadline.

Robin Hood Energy fails to pay £9.4m in subsidies
Robin Hood Energy has struggled financially since it was set up in 2015. Credit: Max Pixel.

Nottingham-based energy supplier Robin Hood Energy has failed to pass on £9.4m in renewable energy subsidies to UK industry regulator, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), by the 1 September 2019 deadline.

Robin Hood Energy is one of four renewable energy suppliers, including Delta Gas and Power, Gnergy and Toto Energy, that missed the deadline and have not provided Ofgem with adequate assurances that they will pay by the late payment deadline.

Robin Hood Energy owes the largest sum of money, more than double Toto Energy’s next-largest £4.5m debt. If the suppliers do not pay the total £14.7m in outstanding payments by 31 October 2019, Ofgem warns that it could start the process of revoking their energy supply licences.

Ofgem executive director of consumers and markets Mary Starks said: “The Renewables Obligation schemes provide important support to renewable electricity generators and play an important role in Great Britain’s journey to a net-zero emission economy by 2050.

“Supplier failure to comply with the schemes undermines the integrity of the schemes and is unacceptable. It also adds to the costs of other suppliers who do meet their obligations as they have to absorb or make up any shortfall.

“This enforcement action sends a strong signal that suppliers must meet their obligations, or pay the consequences which could mean losing their licence.”

According to a statement from Robin Hood Energy, the company wrote to Ofgem in August 2019 and met with the regulator in September 2019 to discuss the option of making its payments in instalments.

Robin Hood Energy CEO Gail Scholes said: “Despite welcoming our proactive approach and advising that as long as our ROCs payment was made by March 2020, which we had always planned to do, then this matter would be resolved […] Ofgem has now written to us today demanding payment in full by 31st October.

“It is frustrating that, in our view, following our proactive and open conversation with Ofgem, we now find ourselves the subject of significant media interest, with questions being asked about our fundamental ability to operate as a business. This is plainly incorrect.

“We operate in a tough market but we remain on track to report a surplus for this financial year and next. As a business, we are paying all other suppliers as per the terms of those contracts.”

Robin Hood Energy has struggled financially since it was set up in 2015, making an initial loss of £713,000 followed by losses of £2.5m and £7.2m in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The energy supplier reported a £202,000 profit in 2018, following a £5.5m loan from Nottingham council.