Here are some common questions about The People’s Energy Company
How do I switch to People's Energy?
Click on ‘Get a quote’. You will then be asked to enter your details. You will get the most accurate quote if you are able to tell us how much Gas and Electricity you use per year. You can find this amount on your bill from your current energy supplier.
How long does it take to switch?
It only takes 90 seconds for you to switch, we’ll do the rest from there- including contacting your old supplier (you will still need to provide them with final meter readings).
Once we begin the switch-over process it will take 21 days in most cases. So sit back and relax. 🙂
Occasionally, there is something that will cause a delay in the switch (such as your current supplier objecting to the change). But don’t worry, you will receive an email from us telling you about it.
I have accepted the quote, what happens now?
You are now properly signed up to switch – welcome, we are excited you are here!
We will now tell your current supplier that you want to join us.
If they don’t object, they will release your energy supply to us (objections occur on occasions).
Once your current supplier has released your account to us and we can take over your supply (usually around 21 days) we will start pestering you for your meter read. We need the meter read within five days of the actual switch from your other supplier to us (either before or after the switch). Giving us your meter reads allows us to give you an accurate bill. That way you don’t have to pay for more energy than you use.
Do I need to tell you my previous supplier?
You don’t need to get in touch with us to tell us who your current supplier is, People’s Energy can source this information from the energy industry database.
You may want to contact your old supplier though and inform them that you are leaving to avoid any hiccups in your transfer.
Why have I been billed twice?
First things first, don’t panic!
Energy companies collect bills at different times. Some bill in arrears (i.e. at the end of the month), and some in advance (at the beginning of the month). People’s Energy collects billing in advance of your monthly usage. If your old supplier collects arrears from the previous month, then you may receive two bills at the same time. One from us, one from them.
It’s important to remember that you are not being charged twice. If you were not aware of another bill from your old provider, our customer service team will be happy to discuss payment options to put you at ease. We want to help!
Is it possible for you to wait and switch only when my current contract ends?
This is dependent on when your contract ends. There is an Ofgem rule stating that if you are with 42 days of the end of your contract, and have received the contract ending notification letter from your current supplier (although not all suppliers provide this), we will be able to switch your supply without waiting for your contract to end. All without you incurring early release fees, or other contract termination penalties.
If you have longer than 42 days left before your contract ends, it may be easier for you to wait a little while before applying, we would obviously love your business as soon as you decide we are the Supplier for you, but waiting a little bit will stop your current supplier attempting to charge early termination penalties.
If there is some other reason you need to request the change in supply start date, please get in touch with our Membership Support team, whilst we can’t promise we will be able to change your supply start date, there may be other things we can do depending on the situation. 🙂
Why not give share ownership right away?
We are looking to give shares back to you as soon as we can. We have sought legal advice during June and July 2018 as to the best structure for People’s Energy to take. Our key objective is to keep People’s Energy out of the hands of external interests so that it is solely focused on you! There are different ways to do this, from setting up a Trust, creating a PLC or to forming a COOP. However, each route has different benefits and drawbacks – some of the drawbacks could be the cost of printing lots of share certificates – and we want to keep costs low for you. We want to keep it straightforward for you, so you can continue to sign up with ease and also share in decision making. We want to be a company you can feel you can trust completely to deliver for you and not greedy shareholders. We aim to provide an update on this before the end of the glorious summer of 2018.
Why not become a PLC?
That would have been our first choice. But, it turns out you need to have traded as a Private Limited Company for two years and have £50,000 of issued share capital to become a PLC. So we can’t do it just yet but will have to wait a couple of years in order to qualify.
Are you Green?
Yup! We offer 100% renewable electricity. Gas is a bit more complicated as there is a lot less renewable gas available. None of the existing energy suppliers are able to provide 100% renewable gas. At most, suppliers are able to offer a mix of renewable gas and fossil fuel. We are however committed to providing all round green energy over time and plan to get involved in national conversations with decision makers. For example, we would like to see a tax break on biogas.
For electricity, we work with a trusted partner, SmartestEnergy. They source renewable energy from their own community of renewable generators. We buy certificates from Smartest Grid – these help guarantee that for every kWh of energy our members use, one kWh of green energy is put back into the grid. We can track electricity right back to the renewable generators we get your electricity from – watch this space, we will be putting up information about these local producers of green energy shortly.
Are you providing business energy?
We will not be able to support businesses that use half hourly meter readings at the moment. This means we can’t offer energy to larger businesses. We’re working hard to get this sorted so we can supply to your business, and we will let you know as soon as we can offer this. You can register your interest for business supply here .
Will you be offering the Warm Homes Discount?
We are not (yet) a member of the Warm Home Discount scheme. It is a really important scheme though, and we will enter it as soon as we possibly can, to be able to offer the discount to those who need it. This scheme is a considerable cost to the supplier. Which is why the government only expect suppliers that have over 250,000 customers to provide it. To help us get to that number faster, why not tell your family and friends to switch to us. 😉
*We are a proud partner of Energy Action Scotland who campaigns for an end to fuel poverty in Scotland and is the only national charity with this sole remit. Find out more here.
When do we receive our share of the profits?
Our bean counter whizzes tell us that we are likely to break even as a business about 18 months after our launch (we launched August 2017). There are obviously many factors that affect when this will happen, such as how quickly we get a lot of customers, and also the wholesale price of gas and electricity. Once we break even, we will be focusing on building a robust and resilient business for a bit. Exactly when we will be able to run return shares is not yet clear, but our clear intention is to begin returning your share to you by 2020, the latest.
How will these profits be paid back to us?
You will get your profit shares back in the form of an annual rebate. We will clarify for you before this time whether the rebate will be deducted off your bill or credited to your account – we are still working out what would work best. We also plan to offer you the option of donating your share of the profit to a charity. We will not return the shares as a dividend, as this add various administrative complications and you would also need to pay tax of the sum returned to you. We aim to keep it all simple – although we are all for everyone taking on our fair part of the tax burden to keep society going!
Our Position on fracking: - We are not fans
The UK has a wide range of gas inputs into the system: the UK’s own gas production from the North Sea, piped imports from Norway and Continental Europe, storage, and liquefied natural gas tanker supplies from global markets.
There is no meaningful or commercial fracking of gas in the UK as of today, and we would not support it if there was.
As long as the various gas supplies (mentioned above) being injected into the system meets the standards required, it enters the National Transmission System (NTS). At that point, it becomes co-mingled with natural gas molecules from all the various types of supply. What that means is that all forms of supply to the UK are co-mingled and in theory would be co-mingled with any gas that is fracked in the UK or anywhere else. There is no way to control this unless you are in a closed gas grid with one source of supply.
Therefore, it would be impossible for us to specify the source of any gas you purchase would be ‘pure’ and from a particular source. This is exactly the same as every other supplier. If any supplier tells you differently they are either not being truthful or don’t understand how the system works.
We do not knowingly source gas from any fracking source UK or elsewhere, but as per the above there is no guarantee of which molecules end up in someone’s pipe.
Can you supply pre-payment meters?
We cannot supply people on pre-payment meters just yet We will change this as soon as we possibly can, but as it adds on an extra layer of complication, we have had to hold off for a little while in the initial stages of the company. However, it does matter a lot to us that everyone gets equal opportunities to own their own company and share the profits. That’s why we want to supply to people with pre-payment meters as soon as we possibly can! Register your interest for supply to a prepayment meter here
Why are you not a part of the Feed in Tariff's (FITSs) scheme?
This is a great scheme that allows domestic customers to install solar panels or other power generation units in their own homes and sell the power generated back to their supplier. As we grow, we plan to become a member of this scheme however the costs of this scheme are large. At this stage of this company we are unable to bear these costs.
If you are a member of Feed in Tariffs with your current supplier, you can still join us and keep selling your power back to old supplier.
Can you take on Smart Meters?
We can accept any household with a Smart Meter however it will no longer automatically send in your readings, it reverts back to a ‘dumb’ meter. All this means is that you’ll have to send us your monthly readings through the login portal, which, once registered, can be accessed here.
As to WHY we don’t, it’s down to cost of reconfiguration/replacement (Smart Meters usually only work with the supplier that installed them) and that there’s a new generation of Smart Meters in development (this causes technical issues as it’s a different system to the 1st Gen Meters).
Integrating with Smart Meters is near the top of our very long list… but we are on it!
How do your rewards work?
WE ARE NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW CROWDFUNDERS AT THE MOMENT
Here are a few examples of how our pledges worked: –
If you chose to pledge, for instance, £100 then you will receive £120 back in free energy which equates to 20% over and above your pledge amount back as a reward.
If you chose to pledge, for example, £1,500 then we will give you two years of free energy in return for your money as a reward
All pledges will be applied to your monthly bill once we reach 20,000 live customers and we anticipate to reach this level at around 18 months from our launch in August 2017. In addition, the rewards require you to remain a customer for the whole period of receiving the free energy.
For the £900, £1,500, £5,000 and £10,000 pledges, the reward of free energy is based on the average annual bill as defined by Ofgem. In 2016 this was £1,066. If your annual bill is larger than this, you will only get a rebate that is equivalent to the Ofgem average.
How will this free energy be returned to me?
We are still working on finalising the exact details of this return but expect that this will be repaid back to you via direct debit.