First Community Energy Supplier Formed To Save Residents £1M a Year
Step change in consumer-driven energy announced at Liberal Democrat Party Conference
Plymouth set to become first local group to supply energy to residents
12.30pm, Sunday 5 OCTOBER 2014, Glasgow: Less than six months after revealing a ground-breaking new plan to democratise the energy market, OVO Energy this morning announced plans for its first ‘OVO Communities’ partnership.
OVO Communities is an ‘out of the box’ solution for communities which want to cut out the middle man and become an energy company themselves – from supply and generation, to smart technology and energy efficiency.
Leading challenger brand, OVO Energy, considers this first partnership the beginning of a seismic power shift within the industry away from energy companies and back to the customers they serve. The company believes as many as 500 partnerships could be formed across the country by 2020, serving up to a million customers.
OVO Energy founder and CEO, Stephen Fitzpatrick, described the initiative: “We’ve always said we don’t want to be the Big Seventh. We want to bulldoze the barriers to entry and drive competition.
What we’re offering is a way for trusted groups, like local authorities or community organisations, to take back the power from companies which they no longer trust to serve customers’ best interests. We think the industry will look very different in a few years’ time as community-led partnerships like this spring up to challenge the incumbents.”
Alistair Macpherson, CEO Plymouth Energy Community said:
“The energy revolution is well under way in Plymouth; our members’ co-operative has already launched services related to fuel debt, energy switching, home insulation and locally owned renewables. Bespoke tariffs, specifically designed to meet our community’s needs, are logically the next step.
We are confident that we could potentially save Plymouth residents well in excess of £1 million per year. We applaud OVO’s innovative approach to making this happen.’
The announcement was made at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Edward Davey. The Secretary of State, who has made his enthusiasm for the initiative known, welcomed the news, saying:
“Community energy us one of the best ways of fostering trust and competition in the energy market. OVO Energy and Plymouth Energy Community are doing exactly what Government is asking businesses to deliver. I welcome the announcement today.”
Ovo has invested significantly in scalable systems that will give community groups, local authorities and housing associations all the tools they need to run a utility business including customer service, billing, trading, and power generation. The company will also offer advanced smart metering, power purchasing and energy efficiency installations as part of its new platform.
The £1m a year figure is based on a minimum saving of £100 each for 10,000 customers. This is a conservative estimate of the potential savings, based on Plymouth Energy Community’s experience with its tariff switching service.
You Gov* research earlier this year revealed that three times more people believe they would get a fairer deal from a local community energy supplier than a big energy company, proving that community energy solutions are the future.
All OVO Communities partnerships are subject to final legal and regulatory approvals as appropriate.
OVO Energy is the energy retail arm of OVO Group. The company was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. It has since established itself as one of the leading independent suppliers in the UK market, with approximately 400,000 customers and 600 permanent staff. OVO believes in simpler, fairer, cheaper energy.
About Plymouth Energy Community
Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) was established in 2013 with significant support from Plymouth City Council and has been nationally recognised for its innovation and achievements. The 700-member strong co-operative aims to give Plymouth residents the power to transform how they buy, use and generate energy. The co-operative provides a number of services addressing fuel poverty and energy efficiency, as well as enabling community owned renewable energy in the city. Funds generated from its 0.8MW solar PV scheme ensure longevity to provide community benefit for years to come.
For more information, please contact: Jessica Lennard, Ovo Energy, 07786025652
Edward Westropp +44 (0)79 2045 3705 Josie Corbett +44 (0)77 0332 9964 Tom Hufton +44 (0)79 9965 3523
*When asked to say who they felt would give them the fairest deal on their energy supply, nearly three times more people picked a community energy company with 32% saying they would give the best deal, than a big energy supplier with just 11%. These figures are from research conducted by YouGov Plc for OVO Energy. Total sample size was 2,273 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 17th April 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).