Future Energy throws down the gauntlet to the so-called Big Six energy suppliers as it turns on supplies today (Monday) to North East consumers, with a promise to make sure they enjoy a fairer deal in the power game.
The Newcastle-based electricity and gas supply company goes live at 1pm, becoming the region’s first locally based energy utility for 20 years.
Among those joining the celebrations at the company’s operational headquarters on Newcastle Business Park are supporters, including Newcastle Eagles basketball player-coach Fab Flournoy.
Future Energy is the brainchild of entrepreneur Tim Cantle-Jones, Managing Director, who has worked for two years to realise the dream of a regional energy supplier founded on principles of fairness and transparency.
“For too long North East consumers have had to buy their energy in what feels like a game of Monopoly in which the so-called Big Six hold all the cards,” he said.
“Now they have the ‘chance’ to switch to a locally-based supplier committed to putting its customers first.”
Future Energy believes that switching from one of the Big Six could typically save consumers 15 per cent, or up to £300 a year on their energy bills. The company promises a fair price for power, easy-to-understand bills based on accurate meter readings, and a free “smart” meter from next year.
Fab Flournoy said ahead of today’s event: “As player-coach of Newcastle Eagles, I believe in backing winners. I’m delighted to support Tim and everyone at Future Energy as they create another winning team for the region and the city that’s been my home for nearly 15 years.”
John Gilroy, who lives, in Benton, will also be there today and hopes to be among the first customers to receive power from Future Energy: “I would rather be with a supplier that has a more ethical approach than the Big Six,” he said.
Also at today’s event will be Colin Hollins, Operations Director at Future Energy’s gas supplier, Harrogate-based CNG, which has worked closely with the company in its preparations to turn on supplies. “We are pleased to have been able to support Future Energy in its journey from inception to the point at which it is now poised to supply its first gas to domestic customers,” he said.
Among others wishing Future Energy success for today was David Faulkner, who was Director of Corporate Affairs at regional electricity supplier Northern Electric before it was bought out: "I welcome Future Energy as a locally-based, customer-friendly antidote to the increasingly remote and over-large suppliers, whose behaviour has lost them the trust of many users," he said.
And two other prominent contemporaries from the region’s utilities added their best wishes. John Cuthbert, formerly Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, said: “I believe passionately that there is always a place for innovative customer-focused companies. It is great to see Future Energy bringing that approach to the energy sector and to have it happening here in the North East is an added bonus.”
Tony Sargison, formerly Customer Service Manager for BT in the region, added: “This is an exciting and welcome development for the energy industry and its customers. The supply industries need to change and offer these improved services to customers. It is even more exciting that such a company as Future Energy has been created here in the North East, a region with a rich heritage and experience of all energy matters.”
Future Energy has already created about 20 jobs in Newcastle and promises all its staff will be based in the region. It will employ “energy champions” to help vulnerable customers to manage their energy use better and plans to donate part of its profits to a locally-based charitable foundation.
Tim Cantle-Jones, 54, added: “It has been an immensely challenging task to bring Future Energy to the point at which we are now poised to supply households across North East England with their power and usher in a new era in which a local company will work for local people.”
The company aims to have signed up 5,000 households by the end of November.
Customers wishing to switch from their existing suppliers or to find out more can visit www.future-energy.com, or call 0800 158 5451.