November 11, 2022
The High Court today handed down judgment in Re Utility Point Limited and Ors  EWHC 2826 (Ch). Following a number of energy supply company (ESC) insolvencies, the officeholders of the insolvent companies applied to the High Court for directions as to the nature and provability of certain liabilities owed to creditors (including a renewables obligation owed to OFGEM). Mr Justice Zacaroli gave judgment to the effect that: (i) insolvent ESCs continue to owe any monies in respect of the renewables obligation incurred prior to the insolvency, notwithstanding the revocation of their licences; and (ii) to the extent that customer credit balances have been honoured by another ESC (the “Supplier of Last Resort”), that ESC will have a claim in unjust enrichment in the insolvency.
This is an important judgment in determining the liabilities of insolvent ESCs that have undergone the Supplier of Last Resort Process.
Andrew de Mestre KC and Lara Hassell-Hart acted for the First Respondent, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (OFGEM), successfully arguing against two different groups of office-holders and another creditor (all represented by leading and junior counsel). Andrew and Lara have a strong reputation for energy insolvency matters, and have between them acted in a number of such cases, including the first ever energy supply company administration last year.