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Solarplicity

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Solarplicity

Solarplicity promised ‘simply lower energy bills’ until it stopped trading in August 2019. Find out what Solarplicity's customers thought of it and what to do if you were one of them.

Solarplicity stopped trading on 13 August 2019. Ofgem appointed EDF Energy as the replacement supplier for its 7,500 customers. If you're one of them, scroll down to find out what you should do and know your rights if your energy firm goes bust.

In the weeks before it stopped trading, Solarplicity transferred many of its customers to Toto Energy. Toto said it bought 'the bulk of the retail arm'. Earlier in the year, Solarplicity had been banned from taking on new customers while it resolved problems with its service.

It also had an order against it from Ofgem for failing to pay some of its solar feed-in tariff customers.

Solarplicity was originally called LoCO2 and said it made it easy to get cheaper energy bills, greener energy and promised friendly, caring staff. It also claimed that its prices would always be lower than the Big Six energy companies.

Solarplicity customers should not switch until EDF Energy has contacted them. Then you can compare gas and electricity prices to check you're getting a price and level of service that you're happy with.

Solarplicity closure: what customers need to know

EDF Energy was appointed by Ofgem to take on Solarplicity's remaining customers. If you're one of them, you'll have been transferred to EDF on 17 August. Ofgem said its appointment 'get[s] the best deal for customers'. Find out what customers think of EDF Energy.

You will be contacted by EDF Energy in the 'next few days', says Ofgem, about next steps. At the moment you'll be on a 'deemed tariff' with EDF Energy and it will tell you the rates when it gets in touch. The price might be different to what you were paying with Solarplicity so compare gas and electricity prices or ask it to put you on its best rate when it contacts you.

If you want to switch you won't be charged exit fees. But you should wait until EDF Energy gets in touch before you start switching. In the mean time, take a meter reading and read our guidance to getting the best energy deal.

EDF Energy will honour credit built up by current and former Solarplicity customers. But this might take a few weeks while it waits to get your account information from Solarplicity. Any unbilled charges from Solarplicity will be deducted from your balance.

If you owed Solarplicity money its administrators will contact you to discuss repayment.

Pay-as-you-go customers can continue to top up as usual. EDF Energy will send you a new prepayment card. If you have a smart meter, it will be converted remotely into credit mode. This means you won't need to top up for a short period but your gas and electricity supply will continue. Contact EDF Energy to discuss keeping your prepayment tariff.

Solar feed-in tariff customers will need to appoint a new FIT supplier, as EDF Energy won't automatically pay you. Here's a list of FIT suppliers.

Solarplicity and Toto Energy

Toto Energy announced that it had 'acquired the bulk of the retail arm' of Solarplicity in late July. Solarplicity said that "this move is in the best interest of Solarplicity's customers".

Affected customers should have been contacted by Toto Energy to tell them that they're being transferred. If this was you, you should have moved to Toto Energy between 2nd and 9th August. It confirmed the exact date when it got in touch.

You tariff will stay the same. So if you're on a fixed tariff you'll be able to keep those rates until the end of your contract. Your first payment will be taken by Toto Energy on 14th August.

If you were in credit to Solarplicity, this will be your opening balance with Toto Energy. If you were in debt, you will now owe this to Toto Energy.

If you want to switch supplier, Toto Energy will not charge any exit fees.

Solar panel owners will continue to be billed by RAC Limited for PV energy; only your general supply will move to Toto Energy. Your total bill should be the same as with Solarplicity.

Read further FAQs on Toto Energy's website.

Solarplicity was the lowest-scoring energy firm in our latest satisfaction survey. But Toto Energy was too small to be included so we can't tell you what customers think of it.

Solarplicity customer score

Solarplicity was the lowest-ranked energy firm in our latest survey, which includes 30 energy companies. 

Its overall customer score was eight percentage points less than the next lowest-scoring. It was 36 percentage points behind the top-scorer, Octopus Energy.

Solarplicity was the only company to score just one star for its customer service online and on the phone, complaints handling, and its efforts to help customers understand and reduce their energy use. In fact, Solarplicity is the only company to get a one-star rating at all. 

Read on to find out more about why Solarplicity's customers don't recommend it.

Solarplicity score breakdown

The graphic below shows the breakdown of Solarplicity’s scores from our latest survey.

Find out how Solarplicity compares with other energy companies included in our survey. See the full results of the best and worst energy companies 2019.

Which? verdict on Solarplicity

This is the first year we’ve had enough responses from Solarplicity customers to include it in our survey – and it’s the worst-rated supplier.

Half of its customers rated phone and online customer service either poor or very poor. Three quarters told us that it’s poor or very poor at dealing with complaints.

Plus it resolved only 14% of complaints within 48 hours in the first three months of 2018. The best firms for complaints-handling resolve 90% or more in this time.

Based on our survey results, Solarplicity needs to do more if it wants to impress its customers:

  • 58% of Solarplicity's customers said they had a problem with it in the past two years
  • 25% is the average across all companies.

Most commonly, customers said their problems were with customer service or the firm's website.

Customers were most positive about it being value for money; it scored three stars out of five for this, which is reasonable but not outstanding. The best firms are rated five stars by their customers.

Perhaps customers see value for money as its best aspect because it has offered some cheap deals over the past year. However, its standard tariff, which you’re moved onto if you do nothing when your deal ends, has been one of the priciest at times.

Two of Solarplicity’s energy deals come with energy-saving LED light bulbs. Its smart fixed tariff gives customers a £25 discount for having smart meters installed.

Though customers didn’t rate its overall phone or online customer service well, it was fast to answer the phone and to respond to emails in our snapshot undercover investigation into energy companies' waiting times in September 2018.

Pros: Offers some cheap deals

Cons: Customers rate its customer service and complaints handling poorly 

Solarplicity electricity sources

Solarplicity in the news

August: Solarplicity stopped trading. Its 7,500 remaining customers were transferred to EDF Energy, as chosen by energy regulator Ofgem.

July: Toto Energy bought the 'bulk' of Solarplicity's retail business. Affected customers will be transferred to Toto Energy between 2nd and 9th August.

May: Ofgem announced that it would not confirm the provisional order against Solarplicity because the firm had either achieved the targets set by Ofgem, or they are in progress.

Ofgem said: ‘Solarplicity’s performance has improved since the issue of the provisional order and it has agreed to a range of ongoing measures’.

However, Solarplicity is still not permitted to take on any new customers until 5 August 2019. After this it can only take 200 new customers per week under Community Energy Schemes.

It’s also not allowed to increase direct debits for customers in vulnerable circumstances or use debt collectors to pursue them until it has completed its Vulnerable Customers Policy (expected to be June).

Solarplicity is still breaking a rule about protection for customers who have difficulty paying. It should offer people the option to pay their energy bills by deducting them at source from social security benefits. On 22 May, it did not offer this but has promised that it will start offering this and tell its customers.

Earlier in the month, Solarplicity was ordered to pay outstanding money owed to Feed-in Tariff generators by energy regulator Ofgem. Generators can include homeowners with solar pv panels. Solarplicity must pay all money owing by 16 May, make future payments on time and not give preference to certain FIT generators.

This is the second provisional order Ofgem has issued against Solarplicity in 2019.

February: Solarplicity was banned from taking on new customers for three months from 22 February. Ofgem said it must improve its poor customer service and switching process before being allowed to accept new customers again.

It is also banned from increasing direct debit payments for customers who are in vulnerable situations.

Ofgem will monitor its progress. If Solarplicity doesn’t improve, ultimately it could lose its license to sell gas and electricity.

Find out more about what Solarplicity must do to improve.

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