Social landlords launch non-profit energy company
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 £2.5m from the Scottish Government and another £1m from Social Investment Scotland, both in the form of repayable loans.
In the future, Our Power hopes 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 yesterday, 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 2012 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 £2.5m 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.”
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, added: “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 £1m investment in Our Power make a tangible difference to communities across the country.”
Our Power’s Members
1. Aberdeen Housing Partnership
2. Abertay Housing Association
3. Albyn Housing Society
4. Ark Housing Association
5. Blackwood Housing Association
6. Cairn Housing Association
7. Castle Rock Edinvar (part of Places for People)
8. Castlehill Housing Association
9. Clyde Valley Housing Association
10. Dunedin Canmore Housing Associatin
11. East Lothian Housing Association
12. Eildon Housing Association
13. Fife Council
14. Fife Housing Association
15. Fyne Homes
16. Glen Housing Association
17. Grampian Housing Association
18. Hillcrest Housing Association
19. Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
20. Kingdom Housing Association
21. Langstane Housing Association
22. Lochaber Housing Association
23. Lochlash and Skye Housing Association
24. Melville Housing Association
25. Moray Housing Partnership
26. Ore Valley Housing Association
27. Port of Leith Housing Association
28. Renewable Power Exchange
29. River Clyde Homes
30. Stirling Council
31. Trust Housing Association
32. West Granton Housing Co-operative
33. West Highland Housing Association
34. West of Scotland Housing Association (part of Gentoo Group)
35. Wheatley Group