Today I will lay before Parliament a departmental minute describing a number of contingent liabilities arising from the issuance of letters of credit for the energy administrators acting in the special administration regime for Bulb Energy Ltd (“Bulb”). These letters of credit replace previous ones provided, announced within past written ministerial statements, which soon expire.
It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability of £300,000 and above, for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Department concerned to present Parliament with a minute giving particulars of the liability created and explaining the circumstances.
I have ensured that Parliament has been afforded the full 14-sitting day notification period to allow the proper scrutiny of these new contingent liabilities.
Bulb entered the energy supply company special administration regime on 24 November 2021. Energy administrators were appointed by court to achieve the statutory objective of continuing energy supplies at the lowest reasonable practicable cost until such time as it becomes unnecessary for the special administration to remain in force for that purpose.
My Department has agreed to provide a facility to the energy administrators, with letters of credit issued, with my approval, to guarantee such contract, code, licence, or other document obligations of the company consistent with the special administration’s statutory objective. I will update the House if any letters of credit are drawn against.
The legal basis for a letter of credit is section 165 of the Energy Act 2004, as applied and modified by section 96 of the Energy Act 2011.
HM Treasury has approved the arrangements in principle.