Electrifying ideas: Deregulation lights up new opportunities

Back in 1989 the UK Government passed the Electricity Act that was, over the course of the next decade, to transform a monopoly into a dynamic market supplying electricity to commercial and domestic consumers. The intention was to allow customers to purchase their electricity from a range of competing providers, albeit still distributed over the national grid, thereby increasing competitive forces and reducing prices. Intuitively we think of large corporations like E.ON (www.eon.com) and Scottish Power (www.scottishpower.com) competing in such a large established market rather than smaller providers, let alone new ones.

Juliet Davenport saw no barriers to meeting this challenge head on when starting Good Energy (www.goodenergy.co.uk), which only supplies electricity generated by 100% renewable sources. This ethical company employed over 50 people and had annual turnover of more than £12m (The Times, 08/06/2009) but how was this achieved in only 10 years? Juliet had a clear vision that she was able to share with investors, independent generators and consumers, which was based on a set of clear values linked to fighting climate change … “We see our customers going on a journey, switching to Good Energy are the first part” (www.youtube.com). In addition to its own wind farm in Cornwall, Good Energy has developed a growing community of over 500 independent renewable electricity generators in the UK.  More than 25,000 homes and businesses across the UK switched to Good Energy (www.goodenergygroup.co.uk) so Juliet’s clarity of vision of saving 1 million tonnes of carbon a year paid dividends with both independent generators and consumers buying into it.

So, switching to Good Energy could be your valentine to the planet!

Dr Nigel Lockett
Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management (CEIM)
www.bradford.ac.uk/ceim
www.nigellockett.com