Ofgem opens investigation into Symbio Energy over renewables obligation and feed-in tariff payments


LONDON: UK Energy regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into Symbio Energy Limited over its late payments into the Renewables Obligation (RO) and Feed-in Tariff (FIT) schemes.

Under the government’s RO schemes, energy suppliers have to demonstrate they have sourced enough electricity from renewable sources to meet their obligation by presenting Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to Ofgem by 1 September.

If suppliers do not have enough ROCs to meet their obligation, they must have made up the shortfall by paying into a buy-out fund administered by Ofgem, by 31 August. Suppliers that fail to comply in full must then make a late payment, including applicable interest, by 31 October.

Symbio Energy failed to pay into the buy-out fund or present the required number of ROCs by the initial deadlines and the late payment deadline. The outstanding payment was made on 13 November 2020.

In addition to not meeting the RO deadlines, Symbio Energy 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.

Payment deadlines were also missed for two FIT quarterly levelisation payments. This scheme provides payments to owners of small-scale renewable generators and is funded through levies on suppliers.

The opening of this investigation demonstrates that Ofgem takes compliance with the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Obligation seriously, and that not making payments on time is unacceptable. The investigation will consider whether further enforcement action is required, which could include a financial penalty.

According to Ofgem, Symbio Energy contravened article 7 of the Renewables Obligation Orders, following its failure to meet the 31 August and 1 September 2020 deadlines and the 31 October 2020 late payment deadline, as well as contravening SLC 33 for non-payment of FITs.

Symbio Energy missed the deadline for the Quarter 1 2018-19 RO mutualisation payment. Symbio Energy failed to make its FIT Year 11 Quarter 1 and 2 Levelisation payments on time.

Ofgem issued a final order to Symbio Energy for unpaid RO payments on 28 October 2020. Ofgem revoked the final order after Symbio Energy belatedly made the payments.

The Renewables Obligation schemes are government schemes in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to support large-scale renewable electricity projects in the UK. They place an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources. Ofgem administers the schemes on behalf of government.

The Feed-in Tariffs scheme is a government programme designed to promote the uptake of smaller scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation. It requires participating electricity suppliers to make payments on both generation and export from eligible installations. Ofgem administers the scheme on behalf of government.


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