Buying the company
Octopus Energy has won the race to take on 1.5m Bulb customers in a deal in which the government will help fund the cost of buying them gas and electricity this winter. This was reported by news agency Reuters.
As noted, the acquisition, announced on Saturday morning, will see Bulb Energy emerge from an effective nationalisation that has cost taxpayers more than £4bn, after it became the biggest and most high-profile of the British energy retailers that collapsed last year.
Bulb Energy was Britain's seventh-largest household energy supplier when it collapsed in November as a result of soaring energy prices and an inability to buy gas in advance, but at the time was considered too big to be taken over by other suppliers.
Its bailout is also expected to be the most expensive since the RBS bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.
Octopus has been leading the way to capture Bulb's customers since the summer, but it had to see off an eleventh-hour bid from rival Ovo Energy, which emerged this month.
The privately owned company did not disclose exactly how much it is paying to take Bulb's customers, but said it believes it is paying a higher rate than energy retailers paid when taking customers from other failed suppliers last year.
The government will participate in the revenue share agreement over the next four years, the company said, without disclosing how this would be structured.
The government will help finance the purchase of gas and electricity for Bulb's 1.5 million customers this winter. Under Treasury rules, which restrict hedging, Bulb could not buy gas and electricity in advance.
Earlier it was reported that Octopus had asked the government to block Bulb's fuel purchases at around £1bn, although the government would be repaid as energy was used.
Bulb customers' credit balances will automatically be transferred to their new Octopus account along with their existing direct debits, the company said.
Earlier this year Octopus acquired more than 580,000 customers of Avro Energy, another bankrupt firm.
The sale "will bring vital certainty and energy security to consumers across the country at a time when they need it most," said Business and Energy Minister Grant Shapps. "This is a new beginning."
Octopus chief executive, said the company will continue to work hard to deliver value to taxpayers and look after Bulb's employees and customers.