3 members of 4 Stone Buildings appear in the High Court on first ever application for special administration of an energy supply company under Energy Act 2011

November 26, 2021

On Wednesday 24 November 2021, 3 members of 4 Stone Buildings appeared in the High Court before Adam Johnson J in an urgent application for a special administration order of Bulb Energy Ltd.

Andrew de Mestre QC and Lara Hassell-Hart appeared (instructed by OFGEM) for the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, the successful applicant. Nicholas Cox appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), supporting the application.

Although the special administration regime for energy supply companies has been in place since 2011, but this is the first time the procedure (set up under the Energy Act 2011) has ever had to be used. The application was brought on an urgent basis on Tuesday night and heard in the Interim Applications Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Bulb Energy is the seventh largest energy supplier in the UK, supplying over 1.6 million customers, and its insolvency has been widely publicised in the national press. The special administration order means that it will now be managed by special administrators, with funding provided by the Secretary of State for BEIS in order that Bulb can continue supplying its customers going forward.

In GEMA v GB Energy [2016] EWHC 3341 Nicholas Cox and Lara Hassell-Hart developed the novel form of High Court declaratory relief which continues to permit OFGEM’s appointment of a Supplier of Last Resort in cases of smaller energy supplier insolvencies.