Couple launch crowdfunding campaign to set up energy firm
A couple fed up with the performance of energy suppliers are launching a crowdfunding campaign to start their own company.
David Pike and Karin Sode said Our Energy will be "completely transparent" with customer representation on its board and will give 75% of profits back to customers.
They believe the current 'Big Six' energy firms treat customers with " contempt" and hope to raise £450,000 to make the electricity and gas company operational this year.
More than £18,000 was raised in an initial fundraising drive and the latest campaign has the backing of business people, including the former chair of Gleneagles Hotel, Peter Lederer.
The couple from Gullane, East Lothian, said Our Energy will share salaries, decisions, accounts and prices with customers. Shares in the company will be owned by people who invest in the crowdfunder.
Mr Pike previously worked with EDF and Scottish Power and said the big energy companies "won't change their tactics anytime soon".
"Like most UK energy consumers, Karin and I have had bad experiences when dealing with the big energy firms," he said.
"People in the UK have quite rightly lost trust in their energy suppliers. Why should we all pay higher prices just to line a shareholder's pocket?
"We want to bring democracy and transparency to the UK's energy market. Our customers will enjoy the profits and after three years will own the company. They will never have to switch supplier again, as they'll own the company and have complete trust in its practices."
Mr Pike said customers will receive share ownership of the business within three years which they can keep as long as they remain a customer.
Customers will also be able to vote on major decisions within the company.
Ms Sode said: "Energy comes from natural resources that should belong to us all, not private entities. We are absolutely passionate about returning ownership of this natural resource to consumers.
"We are crowdfunding for Our Energy because we don't want private shareholders we need to answer to: our customers will be our shareholders."