So Energy, the UK gas and electricity provider which is 76pc owned by the ESB since August of last year, made a near £16m (€18.2m) loss in the 12 months to the end of March 2021, newly-filed accounts for the business show.
But the renewable energy supplier – now reliant on the Irish semi-state company for its immediate future survival – is hoping that a cull of energy suppliers in the UK prompted by the energy crisis will help it lure more customers.
The loss compared with a £883,000 profit the year before. Its turnover in the financial year was almost £247m (€282.1m). ESB’s UK retail business, ESB Energy, which merged its business with So Energy, has also been heavily loss-making, making a £21.7m loss in 2020 and a £24.1m loss in 2019.
The accounts for So Energy show that its revenue in the 2021 financial year was up from £202.1m in the previous year. But its cost of sales jumped in the period.
At the end of March last year, the company had an accumulated loss of £21.3m and net liabilities of just over £20m.
So Energy was founded in 2015 by Simon Oscroft and Charlie Davies, both former energy traders at the Australia’s Macquarie group.
It said it has sufficient funding to survive until at least September next year, with the ESB having provided a letter of financial support for at least 12 months via a revolving credit facility that has been put in place.
In the accounts signed off last month, Mr Oscroft notes that So Energy’s directors expect the business to grow as the market consolidates on the back of a large number of supplier exits as a result of the energy crisis.
“Post acquisition of the group by ESB Retail, an investment is planned in new products and services that offer customers opportunities to reduce their energy bills and have a positive impact on the environment,” he adds in the accounts.
The accounts also note that the wholesale price of gas has risen to “unprecedented levels”.
So Energy said the cost-of-living crisis has created a risk that there are more customers “falling into fuel poverty and an associated risk on their ability to pay for their energy consumption”.