Ofgem proposes £100,000 fine for late payments into renewables schemes

Ofgem proposes £100,000 fine for late payments into renewables schemes

Ofgem has proposed a fine of £100,000 to Symbio Energy £100,000 for making four late payments into UK Government renewables schemes, including Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments and the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.

The fine would be reduced to £85,000 if Symbio agrees to settle.

Last year, Symbio Energy missed obligatory deadlines to pay into the RO scheme buy-out fund or present a required number of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) by the initial deadlines of August 31 and September 1, 2020. It then missed the October 31 late payment deadline by a fortnight, making payment on November 13.

Symbio Energy also missed three other payment deadlines over a four-month period for the government’s environmental schemes. This includes one RO mutualisation payment, which suppliers must make to cover the shortfall in the previous year. It also includes two FIT quarterly levelisation payments, which pays owners of small-scale renewable generators and is funded through levies on suppliers.

Senior management were aware that the company was breaking rules by missing payment deadlines and did not prevent the rule-breaking from taking place.

While Ofgem acknowledges the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on suppliers, other suppliers have gone to considerable lengths to pay on time. It is the supplier’s responsibility to be aware of its upcoming liabilities and to ensure it is in a position to meet them. The Authority also notes the detrimental impacts of suppliers paying late on compliant suppliers.

Symbio Energy has since made all payments, which totalled around £1.2 million.

Cathryn Scott, Ofgem’s director of enforcement and emerging issues, said: “Schemes like the Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariff provide vital support to renewable electricity generators and are crucial to building a green energy system, helping Britain hit Government net zero carbon emissions targets.

“Suppliers that do not make payments on time undermine the integrity of these schemes, gain unfairly financially, and ultimately leave consumers and other suppliers to pick up the tab.

“This proposed fine sends a strong message that Ofgem will not tolerate suppliers who do not meet their obligations around paying into these schemes and that growth cannot be at the expense of meeting regulatory obligations.”

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