Energy company sets sights on expanding its workforce by 150

Andrew Beasley, MD, Flow Energy

Andrew Beasley, MD, Flow Energy - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich-based energy supplier is planning to increase its workforce by 150 people over the coming months as it gears up for growth.

customer service

customer service - Credit: Archant

Flow Energy, which is based at Felaw Maltings business centre on the town’s waterfront, is one of a number of smaller suppliers which are now knocking at the door of the energy “big six”, as more customers turn to other companies with the opening up of energy markets.

A report published by the Competition and Markets Authority in June warned that 70% of people were on the more expensive “default” standard variable tariff, costing consumers £1.4bn more than a competitive market.

Yesterday, energy watchdog Ofgem said it would continue the process of making it easier for customers to switch tariffs and work with suppliers to help “disengaged customers” on high rates to shop around for better deals.

The £100m turnover firm arrived in Ipswich four years ago and has grown rapidly from a team of just three to around 190 staff, most of whom have been recruited locally.

A recent deal with Shell Energy Europe, through which it buys its energy thereby increasing its purchasing power, has enabled it to target sustainable growth, explained managing director Andrew Beasley.

The firm plans to increase its opening hours, which currently cover normal office hours, to cover evenings and possibly Saturdays, and take on more part-time staff.

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The office at Ipswich was originally geared towards customers for its innovative microCHP (Combined Heat and Power) boilers, which burn gas and generate electricity at the same time. These have been developed at its Cheshire base, and are manufactured in Scotland.

However, a UK government review of energy tariffs may create an unfavourable environment for future markets here – so the company was looking to other European countries, where tariff regimes are more favourable, to sell the boilers into, Mr Beasley said.

Flow saw an opportunity to develop its energy supply business, and has seen this take off. It currently serves around 214,000 customers, having doubled its client base in the past six months.

Mr Beasley said the business had grown rapidly but it wanted to ensure that its customer service record remained good.

There has been a “significant acceptance” of smaller suppliers among the public in recent times, he added, which the company was hoping would continue to grow. It was also looking at other products it could sell into the domestic market.

“We are trying hard to keep a balance between customer service and price,” he said.

“Fast expansion can often see customers being neglected. However, we have an outstanding record when it comes to customer service,” said Mr Beasley.