U.K. Nationalizes Energy Supplier for 1.7 Million Households

The U.K. government will temporarily run gas and electricity supplier Bulb as the energy crunch deepens, the first forced nationalization of a British company since the 2008 banking crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The government and energy regulator Ofgem will ensure uninterrupted supplies to Bulb’s 1.7 million customers by appointing a special administrator. Costs for running the seventh-largest retailer will be supported by Treasury. The process is being carried out “in the quickest possible timeframe,” a government spokesperson said in a statement. “Bulb customers do not need to do anything, there will be no disruption to supply or current energy prices, and credit balances are protected.” Ofgem said it will apply to a court to appoint an administrator who will run Bulb. This is the first time the measure has been used in the energy sector, signaling a “tipping point” in the U.K.’s energy crisis, said Justina Miltienyte, an energy policy expert at Uswitch Ltd., a price-comparison service. Soaring gas and power prices have caused 21 suppliers to collapse since August, with most having sold energy at much lower fixed costs before prices almost quadrupled. Read more.