However, the administrators’ progress report into Pure Planet reveals that it bought the vast majority of its energy from BP in advance, meaning only a small portion was affected by rising prices.
The company nonetheless started to struggle as wholesale gas costs surged this year, and told BP on September 1 that it expected to make a loss of £25m for the year ending March 22.
This was far worse than the company’s previous prediction that it would break even, which would have allowed Pure Planet to repay loans from BP as part of a long-term agreement.
According to administrators, BP – which reported a profit of $3.3bn (£2.4bn) in the third quarter of 2021 driven by booming oil prices – became worried about its exposure and reviewed its position.
It then told Pure Planet on October 5 that it would not provide additional funding and demanded repayment of £52.8m under its loan facility, effectively collapsing the business.
Discussions with a a rival energy supplier about a sale were not sufficiently progressed and “the position of BP left the directors with no alternative but to prepare [Pure Planet] for insolvency”, administrators said.
BP bought a 24pc stake in Pure Planet in 2017 as oil and gas titans moved into retail electricity supply to adapt to the shift to electric cars.
BP said in October that since taking a stake in the company it had “worked diligently to support Pure Planet” and that it had tried hard to “reach a satisfactory solution to the market and policy issues facing Pure Planet”.
It added at the time: “Despite considerable work over an extended period, we concluded it was no longer commercially viable for BP to continue the relationship or extend further support to the company and took that difficult decision.”