Scottish firm fails
People’s Energy latest challenger firm to collapse
Former rugby player Gareth Thomas featured in a People’s Energy television advert
Scottish power company People’s Energy and Dorset-based Utility Point have collapsed, affecting 570,000 gas and electricity customers.
Industry regulator Ofgem announced this afternoon that the companies are ceasing to trade.
People’s Energy, a community-owned gas and electricity provider, employs 450 across the UK, including 200 in Shawfair south of Edinburgh and in Musselburgh.
Last year it created 100 jobs in Selkirk where 400 were lost when another challenger company Ovo Energy pulled out shortly after acquiring the retail business of SSE (formerly Scottish & Southern Energy).
South of Scotland Enterprise chairman Professor Russel Griggs, described the expansion into the Borders as “fantastic news for the community”.
Launched by married couple Karin Sode and David Pike in 2017, its mission was to eradicate fuel poverty by providing the cheapest possible energy via a social enterprise that would return 75% of profits to its members.
Founders: David Pike and Karin Sode
That year it raised £487,815 from 2,059 supporters in 199 days. The company received its Ofgem licence and began trading in August 2017.
Last year it also teamed up with East Lothian Council to create East Lothian Energy.
In a statement today the directors said: “We are truly saddened that People’s Energy has had to cease trading.
“We want to thank everyone who has supported the company’s mission to provide fair energy for all and support those in fuel poverty, and we also want to say a heartfelt thank you to our excellent team for all their hard work.
“We are sorry about any disruption or inconvenience caused for our members.”
Utility Point has around 220,000 domestic customers and People’s Energy supplies gas and electricity to about 350,000 households and about 1,000 businesses.
These are the latest in a string of small energy supplies to collapse in recent years.
Others include Green Network, Simplicity Energy, Tonik Energy, Economy Energy, Solarplicity, and Spark Energy.
Customers of Utility Point and People’s Energy will be contacted by their new supplier, which will be chosen by Ofgem.
Neil Lawrence, director of retail at Ofgem, said: “Although the news that a supplier going out of business can be unsettling, Utility Point and People’s Energy customers do not need to worry.
“Under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue. If you are a domestic customer with credit on your Utility Point or People’s Energy account this is protected and you will not lose the money that is owed to you.”
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “While this news can be worrying for consumers, it’s important to remember that you won’t be cut off if your energy supplier has gone out of business – so you don’t need to do anything right now.
“The gas and electricity regulator Ofgem will arrange for your account to be transferred to a new supplier.
“There won’t be a break in your supply when it’s transferred over, although the price you pay for your energy might go up – and that’s when you can consider switching supplier, and you won’t be charged an exit fee to do so.
“Your new supplier will contact you and explain how much you will be paying for your energy. They’ll also tell you what’s going to happen to your credit balance from your old supplier if you had one – it should be refunded or transferred to your new account.