Electricity and gas supplier Panda Power has confirmed its intention to exit the Irish energy supply market.
The supplier has about 50,000 electricity customers and 10,000 gas customers.
The company said the decision was taken reluctantly due to “unprecedented, persistent and insurmountable price increases in the international wholesale energy market”.
It noted that wholesale energy prices have risen more than 600% since February 2021.
Panda Power said there would be no disruption to power supplies to its customers after its decision to leave.
She said there would be an opportunity for them to choose a new supplier until September 28.
Customers who do not choose an alternative supplier will automatically move to suppliers designated by the Commission for Utilities Regulatory (CRU) – Electric Ireland for electricity customers and Bord Gáis Energy for gas customers from 30 September.
Panda Power also said it would work with all affected employees to redistribute them into the broader pool and ensured there were no mandatory layoffs as part of this process.
“The international energy market is facing unprecedented challenges, as wholesale energy costs have risen to unsustainable levels,” a company spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added, “Over recent months, Panda Power has considered all possibilities of internalizing the additional cost and minimizing customer price increases. Despite our best efforts, this is no longer possible, and we cannot justify charging customers with significant price increases, It is necessary now.”
The Utilities Regulatory Commission confirmed that it has initiated a “Provider of Last Resort” (SoLR) procedure to ensure uninterrupted gas and electricity supplies to customers and protect their consumer rights.
The CRU said that customers must submit the meter reading to ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland to ensure that an accurate reading can be passed on to any new supplier and customers are not subject to the estimated meter reading to avoid any potential larger bills.
It also said it had directed Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy to deal with affected customers who did not switch to a new supplier after the relocation to inform them of this change and their future energy supply options.
Commissioner Aoife MacEvilly said the CRU’s decision to direct the Last Resort provider’s operation will ensure that Panda Power customers do not experience any disruption to their electricity and gas supplies.
Aoife MacEvilly said that Panda Power customers have the opportunity to switch to a new supplier of their choice before the September 28 deadline and can do so quickly and easily through CRU approved switching sites (www.switcher.ie, www.bonkers.ie and www.powertoswitch.ie). ).
“It is also important for customers to provide an accurate meter reading to ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland, depending on the supply they have received from Panda Power,” she said.
“If customers do not move before September 28, they will be automatically transferred at the standard variable tariff to Last Resort’s suppliers at which point they can contact Electric Ireland and/or Bord Gais Energy to discuss other available tariff options,” it added.
Dara Cassidy, head of communications at bonkers.ie, said today’s announcement from Panda Power is not surprising given the “carnage” in energy markets right now.
Cassidy said that Panda does not have assets to generate electricity, so it is highly vulnerable to rapidly rising gas and electricity prices in the wholesale markets.
He said the CRU supplier for the last resort operation would now commence with all Panda’s electricity customers moving to Electric Ireland and gas customers moving to Bord Gais.
“However, it is likely that all of these customers will be placed on standard rates, which means that Panda customers who have been on reduced tariffs could see their bills skyrocket,” he added.