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Four more British energy suppliers cease trading

·1-min read
Workers paint an electricity pylon near Lymm, northern England

LONDON (Reuters) - Four more small British energy suppliers have ceased trading, regulator Ofgem said on Tuesday, taking the tally of companies to have gone bust since the beginning of September to 17.

Many British energy companies, often supplying both gas and electricity to homes and businesses, have struggled in the face of soaring wholesale energy costs, because the regulator's price caps limit how much of the increases can be passed on to customers.

The latest quartet to cease trading, comprising Omni Energy, MA Energy, Zebra Power and Ampoweruk, has a combined total of about 23,700 domestic and non-domestic customers, who will be found new suppliers, Ofgem said.

"In recent weeks there has been an unprecedented increase in global gas prices which is putting financial pressure on suppliers. Ofgem is working closely with government and industry to make sure customers continue to be protected this winter," Ofgem said in a statement.

A total of around 2 million customers have been forced to change energy companies.

Customers' potential new energy costs will be covered by the regulators price cap, but if they were on cheaper fixed tariffs they may have to pay more with their new supplier.

The cap is updated twice a year and rose by 12-13% from the start of October, but wholesale prices have risen far more since that cap was set in August.

Ofgem last said it week will examine whether the cap reflects the costs and risks facing energy suppliers and said a decision on any changes would be published in February, when the next price cap level will be announced.

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes)

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