Why I’m prepared to take a chance with People’s Energy

Is it really possible to pay less for your energy to a firm that treats you and the planet fairly? S

Is it really possible to pay less for your energy to a firm that treats you and the planet fairly? Sheena Grant is about to find out after signing up with a new provider set up by a couple who didn't like how they were treated by previous energy companies. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We all know how things often play out when you sign up with a new energy or utility company, writes Sheena Grant.

They lure you in with a great rate and then, over time, just when you’ve been with them long enough to be described as a loyal customer, the bills start to rise.

So it has been with my energy provider. My fixed rate deal - probably the second or third I’ve had with them - came to an end at the end of June and the best they could, apparently, offer me after that would cost at least another £20 a month.

A call to their office to voice my displeasure brought no joy so I looked around for what was on offer elsewhere. And what I found surprised me - in a good way. I am now a customer of People’s Energy, a new provider set up by a couple from Scotland who raised £450,000 on Crowdfunder with the stated aim of putting trust back into the energy market.

David Pike and Karin Sode say their vision is to sign up more than a million customers “all of whom are in control of their gas and electricity and getting a percentage of the company’s profits back”.

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Their electricity is 100% renewable and customers will automatically get shares in the company, as well as a portion of its earnings – they plan to redistribute 75% of profits as an annual rebate.

I know. It almost sounds too good to be true, especially when you also consider that their current tariff, which is variable, is a little less than I have been paying for gas and electricity with my previous provider for the past 18 months.

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People’s Energy has been providing gas and electricity for around a year and wants to break the power of the big six suppliers, saying energy comes from natural resources that should belong to us all, not private entities.

There have been warnings that it’s a volatile market and other small suppliers have failed. I’m aware that if wholesale prices rise, my bills probably will too. But if that happens, I can switch and anyway, I’m prepared to take a chance to support a business trying to do the ethical thing for its customers and the planet. The switching process was trouble free and although it’s early days, it’s a case of so far, so good...

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