The boss of a collapsed energy supplier who 'left customers with bills they could not afford to pay' has been handed a director ban. Mordechay Maurice Ben-Moshe was a director of Birmingham-based Extra Energy Supply Ltd.
The firm was supplying about 130,000 households and businesses when it went into administration in December 2018. It was under investigation by energy regulator Ofgem for alleged breaches of its regulations when it collapsed.
Ofgem was concerned some customers were being 'surprised with huge bills', with evidence suggesting quarterly and final bills were not issued. Some 'stressed' customers were also left 'without answers' as complaints were not being handled in a timely manner.
The firm - which had its headquarters in Edgbaston - owed £28.5m to Ofgem’s Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariff schemes, which encourages the generation and use of renewable electricity. These were 'obligations which Extra Energy Supply Ltd failed to meet', the Insolvency Service said.
Extra Energy Supply Ltd went into administration before Ofgem could complete its investigation. But an investigation by the Insolvency Service found Ben-Moshe breached his duty as a director by failing to ensure it complied with regulations.
Elizabeth Pigney, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: "Ben-Moshe’s disregard for energy market rules and regulations caused distress to customers who were left with bills they couldn’t afford to pay. Some were left without answers due to a complaints handling service that wasn’t fit for purpose, which only added to their stress.
"This is not acceptable behaviour for any company director and as a result he cannot be involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company in the UK for six years." The Insolvency Service launched disqualification proceedings against Ben-Moshe in December 2021.
Ahead of a trial, Ben-Moshe offered a disqualification undertaking - the equivalent to a disqualification order but without court proceedings. The 48-year-old has now been handed a six-year ban, which prevents him from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company without the permission of a court.
Cathryn Scott, regulatory director for Ofgem, said: "Protecting consumers is our top priority, and when concerns were raised about Extra Energy Supply’s treatment of customers, Ofgem investigated, and found strong evidence that people were being surprised with huge energy bills and their complaints were not being handled to an acceptable standard.
"Ofgem has supported the Insolvency Service to bar this director from the industry, which sends a strong message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated." In 2016, Extra Energy Supply Ltd was dubbed the 'worst energy provider' after it received the highest number of customer complaints among energy firms for a second year.