Octopus Energy is reportedly set to take control of rival Bulb in a deal that will put the final bill to the taxpayer at around £4billion.
Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministers have been told that a sale of Bulb’s 1.6 million customer base would be the most favorable outcome, according to Sky News.
Octopus Energy hopes to agree a deal for Bulb, which has been state-owned for nearly a year after it collapsed in November, by the end of the month.
Industry sources reportedly said the government and Teneo Financial Advisory, Bulb’s special manager, were set to sign a deal to sell the business to Octopus by the end of October.
The deal, which Sky says has the backing of industry regulator Ofgem, is expected to close in December, an insider told the broadcaster.
Octopus Energy, which is run by Greg Jackson, is reportedly seeking a £1billion taxpayer package to secure a takeover of Bulb. If the deal is done, it would end months of uncertainty around Bulb, which is the UK’s seventh-largest residential electricity supplier.
The government has had to spend billions of pounds on gas to supply Bulb customers amid soaring wholesale gas prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Octopus and Ofgem both declined to comment, while Bulb did not immediately respond to The Guardian’s request for comment.
A government spokesperson said: ‘Bulb’s special manager is required by law to keep costs as low as possible. We continue to work closely with them to ensure maximum value for taxpayers. »
Last week, Bulb co-founder Amit Gudka told the Guardian that he planned to expand Field Energy, his loss-making battery storage company, into Europe.
Gudka, who left Bulb in February 2021, said the company hired its first employee in Italy, where it began looking for sites. “We identify sites,” he said. “There is expected to be demand in the north – and a lot of renewables are being built in the south – so a good place for storage in a fairly long grid will be the center of the country.”