Hundreds lose out as firm folds

By Harriet Ernstsons 11/05 Updated: 11/05 10:16

A REDDITCH solar energy company collapsed owing more than £500,000.

But the hundreds of people left out of pocket after Energy Saving Group folded have no chance of recovering any of their money unless the directors of the company are successful in suing two other businesses they claims owe them money.

Energy Saving Improvements Limited, known as Energy Saving Group (ESG), was put into liquidation on Tuesday (May 8) and is now in the hands of Nottingham Watson Ltd.

The report produced at the meeting revealed 800 customers are owed £404,371, while £61,000 is owed to HM Revenue and Customs and a further £69,761 needs to be repaid to three companies and two banks in respect of loans and printing costs.

But director James Manley claimed the company, which stopped trading towards the end of last year after complaints from customers who had requested refunds after shelling out £500, did not have any assets except the £554,000 he believes is owed to them by Carillion Plc and Norton Energy Solutions Limited.

It is alleged an agreement with EAGA, a company later taken over by Carillion which installed cavity wall and loft insulation after ESG referred customers to them, meant refunds should not be given if the referral was over three months old.

But Mr Manley claims no cancellation notifications were received between January and April 2011, with Carillion then advising them £267,000 was due to be paid to customers, later increasing this to £424,000 when clarification was sought. This money was deducted from sums paid from Carillion to ESG.

Although Mr Manley acknowledged £100,000 of this was due to be repaid, he claims the other £324,000 related to referrals which were over three months old and therefore his company should have received that money.

The report also claims £250,000 is owed to ESG from Norton Energy Solutions Limited after the business, which installed solar panels for ESG customers, changed its criteria which resulted in 950 customers who had already been signed up no longer being able to receive panels. Norton later terminated the contract after ESG appeared on a Watchdog report in August 2011.

The report states: “The directors attribute the failure of the company to the failure by Carillion to pay sums due, the failure by Norton to install in a timely manner and their change of installation criteria.”

Liquidator Peter Nottingham told the Standard due to the lack of assets in the company, creditors including customers would not be able to receive their money back unless lawsuits against Carillion and Norton were successful.

A spokesman from Carillion Energy Services said: “While we are happy to assist the liquidators with any questions they should have regarding our contractual relationship with this company, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further given their current trading circumstances.”

Norton Energy Solutions were unable to comment before the Standard went to press.

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