UK's first not-for-profit energy supplier looks to support renewables

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 16 Jul 2015 11:37, Last updated: 2015-07-16
New energy firm aims to support renewable heat and power projects

A new independent energy supply company, the first in the UK operating on a non-profit distributing basis, plans to be selling low-carbon heat and electricity to tenants in 200,000 homes across Scotland by 2020.

Our Power Energy, a subsidiary of Our Power Community Benefit Society, has been founded by 35 member organisations including some of Scotland’s largest housing associations, and local authorities.

The company will enter the market at the end of 2015 as an Ofgem licenced supplier of gas and electricity to provide lower cost energy to the tenants and communities of its member organisations.

It expects to save its members up to ten per cent on their household utility bills compared to standard commercial tariffs.

Over the next five years, this could see up to £11 million of savings for households in some of the most disadvantaged communities across the country.

Our Power, a living wage employer, is backed by £2.5 million from the Scottish Government and another £1 million from Social Investment Scotland, both in the form of repayable loans.

In the future, Our Power aims to develop renewable energy projects as part of its business for the benefit of local communities.

In Glasgow, meeting West of Scotland Housing Association tenants to launch Our Power, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “Fuel poverty is at its highest level in a decade with fuel prices having risen by an inflation-busting seven per cent between 2017 and 2013.

“A recent investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that millions of energy customers are paying too much for their energy bills.

“That is why the Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million in Our Power. It will be the first independent and fully licensed energy supply company registered as a non-profit distributing organisation owned by its members.

“This ground breaking company will make a real difference to tens of thousands of low income households who are currently disadvantaged in the energy market and struggling to pay their bills.”

Kimberley Stoddart, a tenant of West of Scotland Housing Association, commented: “The launch of Our Power is really great news – energy bills are getting more and more expensive and its particularly hard for people on low incomes to make ends meet. I really hope Our Power will be a wakeup call for the big energy companies – by having a not for profit competitor – hopefully they will feel pressure to reduce their prices.”

Alister Steele, Chairman of Our Power and Managing Director of Castle Rock Edinvar, said: “This is a monumental day for Our Power. We are absolutely delighted to have agreed a funding package with Scottish Government and Social Investment Scotland’s Social Growth Fund.

“Our Power can now fully focus on market entry and delivering a utility offer to households disadvantaged most in the energy market.

“Fuel poverty is one of the biggest issues facing society today and Our Power is fully committed to help eradicate it.”

Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland said: “Fuel poverty is a major issue for many households throughout Scotland. However, by removing profit from the equation, Our Power offers a new way of tackling this problem.

“Over the next five years Our Power will help many disadvantaged families reduce their energy bills and stay warm.”

“We look forward to seeing Social Investment Scotland’s £1 million investment in Our Power make a tangible difference to communities across the country.”

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