Bulb's administrators incurred $32 million costs, London court hears

By Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) - Collapsed British energy supplier Bulb’s administrators have incurred more than 28 million pounds ($31.9 million) in costs which have been agreed by the British government’s business department, a London court heard on Thursday.

Bulb, which had around 1.5 million domestic customers, was one of the largest energy suppliers to collapse last year due to soaring wholesale gas and electricity prices.

It was placed into a government-funded special administration regime in November 2021 to ensure customers would not face supply disruption and their credit balances would be protected.

The administrators, from consultancy firm Teneo, asked the High Court to approve 28.2 million pounds plus VAT in costs incurred between October 2021 and this September.

Their lawyers said the sums were agreed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), but needed to be approved by the court before any payment could be made.

However, Judge Sally Barber said she was not willing to "rubber stamp this on the basis that BEIS is happy" and adjourned the administrators’ application so that more information about the department’s scrutiny of the costs could be provided.

She approved an interim payment to the administrators of 55% of the total costs claimed ahead of a further hearing.

BEIS is providing up to 1.69 billion pounds under a funding agreement with Bulb and more than 1.1 billion pounds had been drawn as of Oct. 28 this year, the administrators’ lawyer Henry Phillips told the court in written arguments on Thursday.

A separate hearing to decide whether to approve a deal for fellow energy supplier Octopus Energy to buy Bulb, which was announced last month, will take place on Friday.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)