Byron Bay-based energy company Enova collapses amid skyrocketing prices

Byron Bay-based energy company Enova collapses amid skyrocketing prices

Thousands of customers will be impacted by the “devastating end” of the Byron-Bay business after it was forced to close down.

An Australian energy retailer has collapsed after six years announcing its “devastating end” would come as a “huge shock” to customers.

The Byron Bay community-owned electricity provider Enova said it had been forced into voluntary administration after it failed to secure fixed pricing after July 1 meaning the business would be “fully exposed to severely inflated wholesale energy prices”.

Wholesale electricity prices have soared by a whopping 141 per cent in 2022 alone.

Enova added that the “energy crisis” affecting the east coast of Australia made operating “unbearable” and a cap on customer pricing also meant the business was no longer “financially viable”, the company said.

The electricity company had 13,200 customers across NSW and South East Queensland, who have been assured their power will not be disconnected.

Instead, they will be automatically switched to a new provider, although people can also choose their own.

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Customers will also receive a final invoice from Enova for their electricity supply and usage up to the date of transfer to the new provider.

It comes as an energy crisis rocks Australia with smaller retailers struggling to stay afloat as the energy market is buffeted by skyrocketing prices.

Felicity Stening, managing director and CEO of Enova said the team were “incredibly disappointed” and the company folding was the “last resort” after all other options were exhausted. She added she had a “sad and heavy heart”.

“The current diabolic state of the energy market, combined with the high wholesale market energy prices and the cap on customer pricing, has made it impossible for Enova Energy and many other small retailers to operate in the market,” she said.

“The market is broken and does not support small retailers. In addition, the constant raft of state and federal government regulatory changes is adding to the market complexities and have caused Enova delays in being able to fund and resource energy innovation.”

She added that small and medium retailers provided a much needed alternative to the big players providing competition and ensuring consumers had a choice, while just two weeks ago the company had been named Finder’s Retailer of the Year.

Ms Stening added the company had been required to navigate “heavy storms” in the last few years, including bushfires, Covid-19, the recent Northern NSW floods and the current energy crisis.

She pleaded with customers to pay their final bill as 1600 community shareholders, lenders and supplier partners need their money.

“An incredibly difficult part of this process is having our entire team made redundant,” she added.

“The great majority of our team is based here in the Northern Rivers region and, unexpectedly through no fault of their own, find themselves now looking for the next step in their working life.”

Australia is in the grip of its worst energy crisis in the decades, with a number of smaller electricity providers begging customers to leave them to ensure they aren’t slugged with crazy price rises.

Chief executive at ReAmped Energy Luke Blinkoe ​​warned its 70,000 customers at the start of June that they had little time to act before retail prices escalated further.

It told customers it is in their best interests to switch to another retailer as soon as possible to get a cheaper price.

Earlier this week, Victorian energy provider Electricityinabox, urged customers to move to another retailer as soon as possible, adding its stunning letter was not a “scam” as electricity prices skyrocket.

Morgan Duncan, the CEO of Electricityinabox, told customers that “only the lazy or crazy would stay” with his company, as its rates are set to go up 95 per cent on July 1, which would mean bills almost double.

The small retailer, Electricityinabox, is the seventh provider to tell customers to go elsewhere, after similar statements from firms including LPE, Discover, Elysian and Future X.

It comes as regulators announced that the government price cap will rise by 1-9 per cent in Victoria, 7 per cent in SA, 11 per cent in Queensland and 8-14 per cent in NSW for about one in 10 households on “default market offers”.

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