Cross party support for Ebico and Robin Hood Energy partnership to fight fuel poverty in the UK

 

  • Minister for Energy and Industry, Jesse Norman MP says: “It’s good to see Ebico and Robin Hood Energy working together.”
  • Shadow Energy Minister, Alan Whitehead MP says: “This is a match made in heaven”
  • Ebico and Robin Hood Energy launch Ebico PrePay at a discount to existing tariffs
  • Not-for-profit partnership will spend surpluses on fuel poverty projects around Britain
  • To date, Ebico has invested £1.3million in fuel poverty projects around Britain

Ebico and Robin Hood Energy have today unveiled a new energy partnership to offer a brand new prepay tariff, as they vow to continue their fight against rising fuel poverty in the UK and provide energy contracts that function fairly for all consumers.

The partnership will offer the brand new tariff:  Ebico PrePay, which offers customers affordable energy and a flexible deal with no exit fees or tie-ins.

Minister for Energy and Industry, Jesse Norman MP said:  “Smart pre-payment is an important part of upgrading the UK’s energy system and helping people to save money. It’s good to see Ebico and Robin Hood Energy working together and using smart pre-payment to support their customers.”

Dr. Alan Whitehead, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said: “This is a match made in heaven – a not-for profit retailer linking up with a not-for profit energy supplier to provide highly competitive tariffs for the prepay sector who need those good tariffs more than anyone else. It’s also a challenge for those traditional energy retailers. Ebico and Robin Hood Energy are now making the weather on energy retailing – what are you going to do to catch up? All power to your elbows on this initiative – and keep it coming!”

The Ebico PrePay tariff, designed for prepay customers, offers un-rivalled flexibility, with no exit fee and a price guarantee until December 2017. The tariff is also 8.5%1 less than Ebico’s existing prepay tariff, with the price guaranteed until at least December 2017.

Ebico was founded in part to offer a better deal to those using prepayment meters and the new partnership is designed to allow them to offer a new alternative to this section of the market, which is often used by the fuel poor.

The new partnership with RHE will allow the company to continue on its founding mission, one which has already seen over £1.3million donated to fuel poverty charities and projects across the UK.

Customers switching to Ebico PrePay, and looking for the convenience of topping-up their meter credit from their mobile phone, can register to have their meter replaced, for free, with a smart pay-as-you-go meter this year.2

Ebico is rated as the top-3 energy suppliers in the UK by Which? in its 2017 survey. The company is highly commended for its superior customer service and is the fastest to pick up the phone to customers.

Ebico will continue to provide its current EquiGas and EquiPower tariffs, supplied by SSE.

Phil Levermore, CEO of Ebico, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this partnership which will help our customers and our continuing fight against fuel poverty in the UK. We see this as a new way of providing energy – an affordable, flexible tariff with a founding ambition to make society a better, fairer place. Robin Hood Energy shares our ethics and our philosophy and we are resolute in our aim of helping to irradiate fuel poverty in the UK. At a time of rising energy prices, this partnership guarantees to fix prices until at least December and will always do what is in the best interest of our customers.”

Councillor Alan Clark, Chair of the RHE Board, said: “This partnership is a real meeting of minds. Ebico and RHE are both committed to providing a low cost, flexible tariff to our customers and using any surplus we have to fight fuel poverty across the country. This partnership should send the message to the rest of the industry, government and our consumers – there is a different and better way of doing business in the energy sector. RHE, as the first council owned supplier, and Ebico as the UK’s first not-for-profit energy company are at the forefront of what we hope will become a new movement in the UK energy market.”

Robert Courts MP for Witney: “The partnership between Ebico and Robin Hood Energy is a fantastic example of a local business here in West Oxfordshire, expanding and offering an innovative solution to a national problem.  Ebico was founded to fight fuel poverty and I am delighted that this partnership will allow them to continue this important work.  This partnership is a welcome display of innovative thinking that puts customers first.  I am proud that Ebico are based in West Oxfordshire and wish them well with their work.”

Callum McCaig MP, SNP Spokesperson on Energy: “No consumer should be paying more than they have to for energy costs, and whilst work has been done to regulate cheaper tariffs for direct-debit customers, there has definitely been a gap left for those on costly pre-payment meters. The efforts of Ebico and Robin Hood Energy are an encouraging start to tackle fuel poverty, and it is good to see the companies themselves taking the initiative on this issue. Hopefully this may be the start of working toward a future where those individuals who are not able to secure a direct-debit agreement are not then penalised and discriminated against with higher charges, as we should never expect the least well off in our society to foot the highest bills.”

Joanne Wade, CEO of Association for the Conservation of Energy, said: “We welcome the news that Ebico and Robin Hood Energy are working together to reduce the price of energy for some of the households who most need lower bills; we urge them to also help their customers to manage their energy use and invest in home energy efficiency.”

 

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[1] Average savings in comparison to Dual Fuel customers on Equigas and EquiPower, and based on ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCVs) for medium user of 3,100 kWh for electricity and 12,500 kWh for gas.
[2] Fitting subject to successful survey and installation date subject to operational constraints.

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Ebico – Once again in the top-3 energy suppliers in the annual Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey

We’ve never been out of the top-5 since we’ve been included in the survey, but now, of course there’s a lot more competition out there.  But there’s a lot more to a great Which? score than just price and, as Which? themselves point out, “Ebico has managed to answer calls to customer services in less than 30 seconds on average in all of our five mystery shopping investigations so far”.

Phil Levermore, MD of Ebico, responded to the result, “I’d like to thank all our customers who took part in the survey and scored us so highly.  The whole team worked really hard to provide our customers with great service, and it’s wonderful to see this work being recognised.  Third-place is great, but we’ll be striving for the coveted Which? Recommended Provider rating next year.”

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-companies/article/best-and-worst-energy-companies – Which?

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No price increases this winter – guaranteed!

Winter is the time when we all need to use more energy to keep our homes warm.  There have been plenty of scare-stories in the news recently about rising energy prices, so we want to give Ebico customers our assurance that there will be no increases in the price of EquiGas and EquiPower this winter.

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We did it again – we’re the fastest in answering our customers’ calls!

We know how annoying it can be to be kept on hold for a long time. That’s why we continue to work hard to make sure that our customers are not left hanging on the phone for a long time.

Whilst it is continuous hard work, we pride ourselves in making customers our priority and making sure that we are easily accessible when they need us.

“We know that consumers have many suppliers to choose from now, but we’re confident that the priority Ebico gives to helping our customers, demonstrated by this result, will continue to enable us to stand-out.  This is achievement is a testament to strong behind-the-scenes teamwork to deliver a great service to customers” said Ebico MD, Phil Levermore.

keeping-customers-on-hold-november-2016

The full article is available here.

 

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Ebico is now a living wage employer

Ebico received an accreditation for being a Living Wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Ebico, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Phil Levermore, Managing Director of Ebico said, “We are delighted to join the Living Wage movement. As a not-for-profit energy provider dedicated to fighting fuel poverty, we deal on a daily basis with low income families. We, therefore, want to make sure that our own employees do not become victims of this pernicious problem. We do so by providing them with the Living Wage as a minimum”.

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Ebico once again one of the top rated energy providers

Ebico is once again in the top-flight of energy companies according to the Which? Best Energy Companies 2016 customer satisfaction survey.

As in previous years, the survey shows that smaller energy providers are beating the Big Six hands down when it comes to customer satisfaction. In an increasingly competitive market consumers should shop around and consider switching if they are unhappy with the service they get from their energy provider. We’ve been in the top-5 of the Which? Energy company review ever since the survey began which, we believe, demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best experience for our customers that we can.

Which Energy Company Satisfaction Survey
The full report is available here.

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Ebico – A Living Wage Employer

As a social enterprise energy provider dedicated to fighting fuel poverty, we see, on a daily basis, the impact of low incomes on families. That’s why we fully support the Living Wage Foundation and their campaign to encourage all companies to adopt the Living Wage. So we’re delighted to have been accredited, by the Foundation, as a Living Wage employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Ebico, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25 ”“ significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

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Two years on and we’re still No.1

No one likes to be left hanging on the line. That is why, at Ebico, we aim to answer our customer calls as quickly as possible.

“We know that we have a growing number of competitors in the home energy market, so we’re determined that we deliver to our customers the very best experience we can. We start by getting the basics right, such as answering calls promptly, whether they are from our existing customers or potential new customers”, said Ebico MD, Phil Levermore.

“We like our customers calls to be answered quickly, so we ensure our contact centre is well staffed” said Lucy, Ebico Customer Service Team Leader. “I know how it feels when someone speaks to you in technobabble”, she added, “so we make sure that we speak to our customers in plain language. It is great to see that our hard work is paying off and we’re very proud of the results that we have achieved – and, hopefully, our customers recognise this too”.

Apart from answering our calls quickly Ebico scores highly in The Which? Energy Supplier Customer Satisfaction Survey. Last year, customers placed us in the

top 3 energy suppliers by customer satisfaction. For more information click here.

Based on 528 calls to 22 energy suppliers In September and October 2015. Which? called each energy firms' customer service number 12 times each at set times of the day, and recorded the time it took to speak to a human being. The same was done for their sales number. They then calculated the average time as the median of the 12 calls.

Based on 528 calls to 22 energy suppliers In September and October 2015. Which? called each energy firms’ customer service number 12 times each at set times of the day, and recorded the time it took to speak to a human being. The same was done for their sales number. They then calculated the average time as the median of the 12 calls.

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Ebico has changed!

2016 marks Ebico’s 17th year of offering home energy customers across Britain competitive energy supply deals. As importantly, we’ve remained true to our social mission and helped countless financially vulnerable families across the country affected by fuel poverty – a problem which has, sadly, only grown in recent years.

In order to offer our existing and new customers a better user experience, we have decided to refresh and modernise our brand and website. We hope that you will find our new brand more appealing and our new website more accessible.

Our new brand and website covers all communications that you will from now receive from Ebico.

  • The changes that you will see are:
  • New logo
  • New brand colours and visuals applied to all our communications – printed and digital
  • The Ebico Trust will now have its own website
  • A website which works as well on a smart phone as it does on a computer – so now you can navigate our website on any device

Please note that the Bills and Statements for our tariff will continue to have our old branding still for some time. However, from next year all communication that you will receive regarding Ebico or our tariff will come in a new brand. 

Below is a snapshot of our new brand. We’re very proud of it – and we really hope that you like it too.

ebico brand overview 2

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We welcome Ofgem’s final proposal on white labels

A couple of years ago, in Ofgem’s review of the home energy market, the regulator announced its intention to radically reduce the ability of ‘white label’ energy providers to offer electricity and gas tariffs to British households. Ebico’s EquiGas/EquiPower tariff is provided, through such a white label agreement, by our supply partner SSE, so this affected us very directly. The practical result of Ofgem’s proposals was that we would no longer have been able to offer our ‘fair-to-all’ tariff to either existing, or new, British customers. At the time, and with the help of our customers, we managed to convince Ofgem to give us a 12-month derogation (exemption) from this rule ”“ an exemption which was later extended to two years. This meant that white label energy providers, and their supply partners, had two years to convince Ofgem that white label energy providers do bring value to the energy market.

We’re delighted to announce that Ofgem has now decided that we, and other white label energy providers, do, indeed, bring something valuable to the UK’s households. Ofgem has drafted a new set of rules, specifically for white label providers such as Ebico, which will permanently allow us to operate, whilst establishing a safeguards to ensure that we continue to add to competition in the home energy market. Ofgem’s final proposals include the following:

  • White label energy providers will be entitled to promote themselves differently to their partner supplier. So, for instance, we’ll still be entitled to tell everyone that we are the fastest energy provider to answer customer calls, and one of the top-3 rated energy providers, in the Which? energy company survey.
  • White label tariffs can be designed with a set of tariff features (mainly price, standing charge and discounts) which are not considered, by Ofgem, as being part of the supplier partner’s standard offerings. So, in our case, we will still be able to offer EquiGas and EquiPower with zero standing charge and the same price irrespective of payment method ”“ including for pay as you go meter customers. EquiGas/EquiPower will continue to provide a fairer deal for low energy users and those on pre-payment meters.
  • Those of a partner suppliers’ customers who would see their bills fall if they were to switch to the white label, will now have to be informed about this. Similarly, those supplied with a white label tariff will have to be informed if, for them, one of the partner supplier’s tariffs is cheaper.

The proposal is currently going through the final consultation until 20th March 2015. The final decision, which is unlikely to change from the current proposal, will then be implemented with a target date of July 2015.

At Ebico we welcome Ofgem’s decision as this ends the uncertainty about or EquiGas/EquiPower tariff which, for the past two years, has relied for its existence on a temporary exemption. We also believe that the new rules will offer, both increased choice, and greater transparency in the energy market.

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