We've been using Ecotricity as our power supplier for a couple of years now (prompted by furrfu
), and moved to them because they explicitly invest their profits in new generation capacity. They also price-match the "standard" regional tariffs, which meant we could get cheaper by shopping around the confusopoly of energy tariffs, but not by much, and we decided the extra was worth paying for sticking to our values and not having to shop around every year.
Now, they are making a small but symbolic reduction in energy prices, so they will be a few pounds cheaper than the local standard tariff. Because now they are generating about 35% of what they sell from wind, so they are less tied to the global gas / oil / coal prices which ultimately determine the price of conventionally-generated electricity. And to quote from the customer email I got, "We intend to stretch the gap between us and the conventional energy companies as we achieve greater levels of energy independence."
This to me is the whole point of the endeavour, of going with Ecotricity and not the Big Six, of getting solar panels on roofs everywhere
, and heat pumps where we can: becoming less dependent on burning fossil fuels for power. And now we're seeing that in hard cash terms - a small step but I think the beginning of something quite exciting.
Another interesting nugget about Ecotricity which I found buried on page 18 of the 2012 progress report
(pdf) is their approach to customer service:
"We don't have a call centre. You call our office and we answer the phone (quickly). And the person you speak to is able to make decisions and solve problems on our behalf. ... We deal with nine out of ten queries within one call, so our customers rarely need to call back. We never set our staff targets for the number of calls they handle or how quickly they deal with them. It’s about letting them do the right thing for the customer."
This reminded me of the stuff David Boyle
repeatedly says about "human-scale" services and particularly this rant about call centres and IT
. I think he's worth reading, even if I do think his dislike for "digital by default" is misunderstanding the nature of the GDS project
[I'll also say that it's a pleasure to have the bills arrive on time now - we were with Ecotricity for a while in 2005-07 and the bills always arrived late and we had massively overpaid when we finally switched away. But no complaints this time around!]