A West Dunbartonshire-based energy supplier has collapsed due to soaring wholesale gas prices.
Together Energy Retail is the 27th energy firm over the past five months to go under amid rising costs.
Regulator Ofgem is now seeking rivals to take on the company’s 176,000 customers under its supplier of last resort process for failed firms.
The Clydebank-based firm, which is half-owned by Warrington Borough Council, also owns Bristol Energy.
In a message posted on its website on Tuesday, the firm thanked customers for their support over the past five years.
The firm added: “Despite press reports, we did buy enough gas and electricity for your needs, but the sustained increase in wholesale prices and the securities required to continue to forward purchase the energy have meant that it is untenable for us to continue.”
Neil Lawrence, director of retail at Ofgem, said the regulator’s “number one priority” was to protect customers.
He added: “We know this is a worrying time for many people and news of a supplier going out of business can be unsettling.
“I want to reassure affected customers that they do not need to worry, under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue.
“Ofgem will choose a new supplier for you and while we are doing this our advice is to wait until we appoint a new supplier and do not switch in the meantime.
“You can rely on your energy supply as normal.
“We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your tariff.
“Any customer concerned about paying their energy bill should contact their supplier to access the range of support that is available.”
Energy companies have been the first to feel the force of rising gas prices.
Some had bought much of their gas in advance, but those that had not were squeezed between the rising prices and the cap on what they could charge consumers.
In April that cap will be changed so that the costs can be passed on from suppliers to their customers.
Where the cap will be set is still to be decided, but analysts believe it could reach around £2000 per year for an average household – more than £700 higher than today.
In response to Together Energy’s collapse, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said it was “more bad news for hard-pressed consumers”.
Kate Morrison, fair markets spokesperson for CAS, added: “What’s important to understand is that your supply of energy will not stop and you will be moved to a new supplier.
“Together Energy will be the 27th company to exit the market since last August, and comes as a record rise to the price cap is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“One-in-three of us are already finding bills unaffordable and that’s before huge increases in bills alongside soaring inflation.
“The CAB network can help people maximise their incomes so they don’t have to feel powerless about soaring bills. Last year we unlocked around £147m for people.
“Our advice is free, confidential and impartial and we’re here to help as consumers face this cost-of-living crisis.”