A Sheffield businessman who was sick of the behaviour of the ‘Big Six’ energy firms has set up a company selling gas and electricity - and signed 4,500 customers ahead of its launch this week.
David Pike, aged 53, and Karin Sode, 47, established People’s Energy after raising almost £500,000 through crowdfunding - where ordinary people lend small amounts.
They say 75 per cent of annual profits will be returned to customers in an annual rebate.
Customers will receive free shares in the business and have a vote on its future. And the bosses will share accounts, salaries and wholesale energy costs ‘openly’.
David said people were fed up with being ‘taken for a ride’ by large corporates and had lost trust in energy suppliers.
He added: “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 and now that we have the foundations in place we’re ready to go.”
The company is based in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.
Karin Sode added: “We offer customers a genuine opportunity to shape the direction of the company, and unlike others in our industry the customer will be at the heart of everything we do – in actions, not just words. That’s why we offer transparency and share the profits.
“We believe that people have the right to be treated with respect, as owners of their own energy and of the company. We are seeing people recommending this approach to others, and the pre-registrations have been rolling in! We have big plans and are excited to be offering something very different.”
Over the coming week, customers will begin to receive gas and electricity on one ‘simple’ tariff as the company begins trading.
They aim to sign up 1m customers by 2024, she added.