Ovo Energy, one of the UK’s fastest growing independent energy suppliers, says its scalable systems make it an ideal fit for community groups, local authorities and housing associations.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, the founder and managing director of Ovo, told the Guardian an open access technology model similar to the one Amazon uses in retail could also kickstart a revolution in power supply, and may well have positive implications for district energy schemes.
“One of the great myths of today’s energy industry is that we need big, centralised energy companies to keep the lights on. Ovo launched just five years ago and we have proved that small can be beautiful; we run a more efficient business, with happier customers and lower prices. We now supply just over 1% of the UK market, and are growing quickly. Now we want to share our knowledge and expertise to encourage others to follow our lead.”
Ovo has invested heavily in systems that can easily be scaled up to give community groups, local authorities and housing associations the tools they need to run a utility business, including customer service, billing and power generation. The company, through a new Ovo Communities division, will also offer smart metering, power purchasing and energy efficiency installations as part of its new platform.
Fizpatrick has already won the backing of Ed Davey, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, who has been keen to encourage new entrants in the energy market.
UK energy secretary Ed Davey is supportive and says, “helping local people take control of their power supply fits very much with our community energy vision, opening up energy markets to smaller companies and community organisations.”
A recent YouGov survey showed that three times more people believed they would get a fairer deal from a community-based energy supplier than a large company answerable to big City shareholders.
The community model is already used heavily in countries on the continent, especially in Germany where more than half of electricity and gas is provided by local municipalities or other community organisations.
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