Spark Energy - has it gone bust?
Spark Energy was a mid-sized independent supplier which was acquired by a competitor in 2018, having amassed almost 300,000 customers in its 11 years of independent activity. Were you a Spark customer? Still in doubt about where you stand? Read on and we’ll clear matters up for you.
Spark Energy FAQs
In this section, we’ll take you through a few common questions surrounding Spark Energy and hopefully leave you in no doubt about the situation.
Is Spark Energy still trading?
Not exactly. Spark Energy ceased trading in November 2018 after financial difficulties left it unable to pay a £14m fine to Ofgem relating to failure to comply with the Renewables Obligation scheme.
The regulator appointed a competitor to take over the 290,000 customers that were left in need of a provider as a result, which retained the Spark Energy brand so that it continues to operate under that name.
Who has taken over Spark Energy?
Ovo Energy was the supplier appointed by Ofgem to take over Spark Energy contracts when the company went bust. The Spark Energy brand has not disappeared altogether, however - it has been acquired by Ovo, but customers continue to be billed by Spark and contacted by Spark’s customer service staff.
It’s feasible, then, that if you were a Spark Energy customer at the time you may not even have noticed that anything occurred. Your supply won’t have been interrupted and your bills would have kept arriving from Spark as normal. If you’ve taken no action since, however, you’re almost certainly on a standard variable tariff and paying way too much on your energy bills!
Spark Energy Reviews
Spark Energy reviews are a bit of a mixed bag. The provider has certainly done enough to keep a large portion of its customers happy, with more than 70% of 30,000 reviewers on the consumer review site Trustpilot giving it a rating of either four or five stars out of five. A recent swathe of 1-star reviews, however, is dragging its overall rating down and cannot be ignored.
The most concerning thing is how few positive Spark Energy reviews are coming through at present compared to negative ones - they are far outweighed, and tend to focus on problems with the final bill and poor complaint resolution.
Spark Energy sold data to a company called LCS, who are based in Leeds, that chases debt using intimidating letters asking me to pay for a so-called energy debt (£377) with Spark. This is a non-existent debt as I was not even living in the house for the dates used in the threatening letter from LCS. Spark won’t respond to my emails or calls about the debt as it hasn’t any record of this.
Several recent reviews site problems like this with billing and the difficulty of resolving these issues with Spark Energy staff. Problems with resolving complaints are always the most concerning matter for us, as mistakes can happen with any provider, but the number of similar incidents and instances of poor customer service is particularly worrying in Spark Energy reviews.
It would seem that at one point Spark was providing a good service, but that something has gone wrong and it is certainly not dealing with customers leaving in the most graceful way. We hope that it can get back on track in terms of its billing process and customer service soon, but for now, we can’t see we would recommend joining.
While not the cheapest on the market, the prices on offer across Spark Energy tariffs are reasonable, all falling under Ofgem’s price cap for dual fuel. Our big concern, however, is that Spark offers no green tariffs. Despite being owned by Ovo Energy, which sources all of its electricity from renewables, Spark Energy is still well behind in this respect - though you'll see by looking at its fuel mix below that it’s by no means below average.
All providers are obliged to release details pertaining to how they source their energy, and Spark Energy is no exception. In the table below, you’ll see how Spark powers its customers’ homes.
|Spark Energy average||0%||48.1%||0%||51.9%||0%|
Compared with the UK average, Spark seems to source a sizeable chunk of its power from renewables such as wind and solar energy. It does, however, also burn a lot of natural gas (a fossil fuel), so isn’t exactly innocent when it comes to its environmental impact..
Spark Energy login
Customers can still use their Spark Energy login to access and manage their energy account online or on their mobile with the Spark Energy app. Here is a list of features that the app offers users:
- Submit meter readings
- Make payments or set up a direct debit
- View bills and statements
- Compare and change tariffs
- Update contact preferences
- Edit contact details
- Tell Spark Energy you’re moving home
This is a simple but effective set of features that should allow customers the ability to do everything they need but. unfortunately, customers don’t seem satisfied with it. The app gets poor reviews on Google Play, where it has an average rating of 1.7 out of 5, with users complaining of being unable to log in at all most of the time.
Having trouble using your Spark Energy login details? You can access your account either online or through the app using your account number, which you’ll find on any bill from Spark, or the email address with which you signed up.
If you’ve forgotten your email or password, you can reset either by clicking on the ‘Forgotten your email or password?’ button on the login screen. If it’s your password you want to reset, you can get a reset link sent to your email address, and if you’ve forgotten your email address you can find out by providing your account number.
Spark Energy smart meter
Customers are able to get a Spark Energy smart meter fitted - you can book a free smart meter appointment either online or via the app by logging into your account. The provider is committed to rolling out smart meters in accordance with the government’s aim to have a smart meter in every home by 2021.
It’s recommended that you get a Spark Energy smart meter fitted for the following reasons:
- They provide accurate meter readings, not estimates.
- Readings are sent out automatically, removing the hassle of doing it yourself.
- They allow you to see what you’re using up energy on and help you make changes that will save you money.
- Improved efficiency will also reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment!
Spark Energy warm home discount
Spark Energy customers are eligible for the warm home discount, whether via the Core Group or the Broader Group. Members of the Core Group will be informed by the government and have the £140 discount deducted from their bill automatically.
Members of the Broader Group are able to apply for the Spark Energy warm home discount and, depending on their circumstances, may be eligible for it but will have to apply every year and are not guaranteed to receive it, even if they did the previous year. This is because this discount is given out on a first-come, first-served basis and the criteria for acceptance is subject to change year-on-year.
Spark Energy contact number
Looking for a Spark Energy contact number? You’ve come to the right place - below you’ll find the numbers you need to get in touch with the provider and the times you’ll be able to get hold of them:
|Department||Spark Energy contact number||Opening hours|
|Automated phone line (for meter reads or bill payments)||0345 130 8966||Available 24/7|
|General inquiries||0345 034 7474||Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm|
If you’d rather not talk to a robot or wait to speak to a person over the phone, you can use the live chat function available on the Spark Energy website or send an email using its online contact form, which is also available through its website’s contact page.
Looking for a number to use in case of an emergency?Former Spark Energy customers, regardless of their current supplier, should report gas emergencies by calling 0800 111 999, which is a 24-hour emergency line for customers of any provider. To report a power cut, call 105.