One month after announcing a major streamlining of its business, ASX-listed clean tech energy retailer GO Energy has gone into voluntary administration, leaving rival businesses to try and pick up some of its contracts.
The company, which was last year acquired by ASX-listed solar wholesaler SOLCO in a reverse takeover, says its its wholly owned subsidiaries – including GoEnergy, GoEnergy Shared Services, GoEnergy installations and Solco Solar Products – were put under the administration of Pitcher Partners NSW.
The news comes just one month after GO announced plans to scale back its operations and staff after being squeezed between rapid growth and high wholesale electricity prices – an announcement that was bookended by trading halts.
GO’s major business had focused on reducing energy costs and grid reliance for commercial customers using mostly solar PV solutions, as well as battery storage, efficiency and its Go Hub energy monitoring system.
Businesses were offered no-money-down solar design, supply and installation based on detailed audits and energy analysis. They would then sign a contract – a PPA – with GO Energy, locking in their electricity prices at a “competitive” rate for a set period.
At the end of the PPA period, the contract could be renewed, or the customer had the option to buy the solar system outright.
Hints of trouble, however, were confirmed in late February in an update to shareholders that said the company had been hit badly by soaring wholesale electricity prices in its various markets – NSW, Victoria and Queensland. In January, alone, it said, this had been $500,000 greater than forecast.
“The combination of seasonality and significant growth in the Group’s electricity volumes (from 15,865MWh in December to 28,522MWh in January)… plus high wholesale prices in January has resulted in significant additional prudential requirements by the Australian Energy Market Operator through February,” the document said.
“To moderate the ongoing cash demands and manage the business’s growth, the board has decided to re-focus customer growth on smaller scale business customers” – the result of which would be a number of redundancies amongst staff.
In mid-March – days after an investor presentation foreshadowed the integration of commercial battery storage solutions into GO’s existing solar offering – the company again went into trading halt, this time “pending the announcement of a corporate and financing update.”
On March 21, the company announced that Go Energy’s board had appointed Pitcher’s Paul Weston to undertake an immediate assessment and determine the options available for restructuring its affairs. People in the solar industry said there was much interest in picking up some of Go Energy’s contracts.
Another ASX announcement on April 1 confirmed the company had been placed into voluntary administration. RenewEconomy has contacted the administrators and Go Energy for comment, but has not yet received any response.