People's Energy creating 100 Borders jobs in major expansion

A Scottish energy supplier founded by a husband-and-wife team just three years ago is looking to create at least 100 jobs by setting up a new operation in the Borders.

From left: Russel Griggs welcomes David Pike and Karin Sode to Ettrick Riverside in Selkirk. Picture: Rob Gray.
From left: Russel Griggs welcomes David Pike and Karin Sode to Ettrick Riverside in Selkirk. Picture: Rob Gray.

People’s Energy, which serves 180,000 gas and electricity customers from its existing bases in Shawfair, Edinburgh and Musselburgh, is establishing the new office in Selkirk where Ovo Energy recently closed its office with the loss of around 400 jobs.

The company, founded by David Pike and Karin Sode to counter what they saw as a lack of ethical and transparent energy providers in the market, plans to recruit the staff over the next 18 months with the potential for further jobs.

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People’s Energy’s expansion into Selkirk has been welcomed by Griggs. Picture: Rob Gray.

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The additional staff are needed to handle rapidly growing customer numbers, with 28,000 new households and businesses attracted in July alone.Pike, whose background is in manufacturing, said: “When we founded the company, we said we wanted to give a million people control of their own energy and we are on track to achieve that.”

He said the couple were particularly pleased to be creating local employment during the current crisis when so many jobs are being lost. It is creating a minimum of 100 jobs, on top of the 175 it currently employs, and expects to create more employment at the new site in the future.

People’s Energy says it is the only Community Interest Company energy supplier in the UK and aims to return 75 per cent of profits to its members as well as reduce fuel poverty. It initially raised the money to launch through a crowdfunding campaign and has been self-funded since with no external shareholders.

Although a number of smaller energy suppliers have gone under in the last 18 months, Pike said the company was in a stable financial position.“We launched with no money so we’ve always operated on a very lean basis and that means we can be nimble. We’ve also managed to build a very strong team.”

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The company is working in partnership with the South of Scotland Enterprise agency on the expansion move. The organisation’s chair, Russel Griggs, said : “People’s Energy’s expansion into Selkirk and the potential of new jobs is fantastic news for the community.

Expertise

“The Borders has a reputation for high-quality customer service and expertise in the energy sector and I see this as a much-needed boost for Selkirk, and the wider South of Scotland economy.

“As we start to move through the route map out of the Covid-19 crisis, opportunities for local people will be an invaluable contribution in rebuilding our communities and businesses.”

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In May, Ovo Energy announced plans to cut a total of 2,600 jobs, blaming the lockdown for forcing it to accelerate cost-cutting plans. Ovo had bought SSE’s retail division at the beginning of the year, making it Britain’s second biggest home energy supplier.

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