Publicly-owned energy company to compete with Big Six

A UK couple is taking on the Big Six with its consumer-owned company, People’s Energy.
Published: Tue 29 Aug 2017

The company, based in Musselburgh near Edinburgh, has already pre-registered over 4,500 customers. New users will start receiving gas and electricity from People’s Energy from across the UK as the company begins trading.

The owners, David Pike and Karin Sode, raised £500,000 over the last year through crowdfunding and have already secured an Ofgem licence. Pike has worked with EDF Energy and Scottish Power.

The company will manage energy on people's behalf on a day to day basis.

The initiative is being backed by a number of senior business figures including former chair of Gleneagles Hotel, Peter Lederer CBE and former CEO of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, John Wright.

Giving customers control

Open for business and ready for new registrations, their aim is to give one million people control over their own energy by 2024 and provide an alternative for those who “have lost trust in the traditional energy suppliers.”

Ofgem data compiled by the energy provider Bulb found that customers of the Big Six energy companies have paid an extra £7.3bn in the past five years, when the rates they paid were compared with the best tariffs available.

Bills for customers using British Gas, SSE, E.ON, npower, EDF and Scottish Power were on average £853 higher over that period.

Hayden Wood, the Bulb co-founder, said: “Loyalty towards a brand is often rewarded, yet households who’ve put their trust for years in a single energy company are being forced to subsidise others who switch every 12 months.”

People’s Energy will give back 75% of its profits to its customers who are represented on the board of directors. Customers who stay with the company will receive free shares, according to the owners.  

Clean and transparent

The company says that it will share salaries, decisions, accounts and prices with customers, which they say makes the firm the first completely transparent and customer-focused energy company in the UK, with one simple tariff and 100% renewable electricity.

Says Pike: “We want to create not just a different kind of energy company but an entirely different approach to services that put people squarely at the centre. Energy belongs to no one, we all need this resource and all should benefit from it, not just a few greedy shareholders. We’ve had a fantastic response from customers and industry players pre-launch and now that we have the foundations in place we’re ready to go.”

Sode adds: “We offer customers a genuine opportunity to shape the direction of the company.”