Ofgem proposes to fine Symbio Energy £100,000 for late payments into Government schemes

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Energy regulator Ofgem proposes to fine Symbio Energy £100,000, reduced to £85,000 if the company agrees to settle, for making four late payments into Government renewables schemes, including Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments and the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.

According to Ofgem, Symbio Energy missed obligatory deadlines to pay into the RO scheme buy-out fund or present a required number of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) by the initial deadlines of 31 August and 1 September 2020.

Following this, the company reportedly missed the 31 October late payment deadline by a fortnight, making payment on 13 November.

Symbio Energy reportedly also missed three other payment deadlines over a four-month period for the government’s environmental schemes, including one RO mutualisation payment, which suppliers must make to cover the shortfall in the previous year and two FIT quarterly levelisation payments, which pays owners of small-scale renewable generators and is funded through levies on suppliers.

Symbio Energy has since made all payments, totalling around £1.2 million.

According to Ofgem, senior management were aware that the company was breaking rules by missing payment deadlines and did not prevent the rule-breaking from taking place.

Cathryn Scott, Ofgem’s Director of Enforcement and Emerging Issues, commented: “Schemes like the Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariff provide vital support to renewable electricity generators and are crucial to building a green energy system, helping Britain hit Government net zero carbon emissions targets.

“Suppliers that do not make payments on time undermine the integrity of these schemes, gain unfairly financially, and ultimately leave consumers and other suppliers to pick up the tab.

“This proposed fine sends a strong message that Ofgem will not tolerate suppliers who do not meet their obligations around paying into these schemes and that growth cannot be at the expense of meeting regulatory obligations.”

An Ofgem spokesperson added: “While Ofgem acknowledges the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suppliers, other suppliers have gone to considerable lengths to pay on time.

“It is the supplier’s responsibility to be aware of its upcoming liabilities and to ensure it is in a position to meet them.

“The Authority also notes the detrimental impacts of suppliers paying late on compliant suppliers.”

Ofgem opened their investigation into Symbio Energy earlier this month.

More information about Ofgem’s decision, including a notice of intention, is available on the regulator’s website.