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Utilitia was a start-up supplier in 2005 when volatility in the wholesale gas market forced two or three of its fellows into receivership, and their customers into “supplier of last resort” measures. Chief executive Bill Bullen says Utilita was not one of them – but that did not mean the company did not have to take drastic action. “The only option we had was to sell our customers,” he said. EDF Energy took over the customers -  some 15,000 - and the liabilities. “It was a straightforward trade sale, we didn’t have to go into supplier of last resort  - we saw it coming,” Bullen says.

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