The majority of the UK’s small energy suppliers could be left to collapse this winter, the Guardian understands, as the government’s crisis talks focus on protecting households rather than bailing out struggling companies.
The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, was due to meet with the industry regulator on Sunday to thrash out possible options to intervene in the energy market following a recent run of supplier collapses due to a record rise of global gas and electricity prices.
Five small operators have gone bust in the last five weeks, leaving over half a million customers in need of a new supplier, and industry sources expect another four may fold before the end of the month leaving over a million customers stranded.
The Guardian understands the government would rather put in place arrangements to protect the millions of homes that may be left without a supplier this winter than prop up poorly financed companies which are likely to fail.
One senior industry source said the government was “not interested in bailing out badly run companies” and may leave the sector to experience a “natural response” to the unfolding energy crisis.