Ebico, the pioneers of change in the energy sector

The 1990s was a decade of significant change for the UK energy sector. At the start of the decade both British Gas and all regional electricity boards were privatised. This completely transformed the industry from a state-owned monopoly sector to a privately owned one. Subsequently six major energy suppliers emerged – commonly referred to as the Big Six. The Big Six included British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npwer, Scottish Power and SSE.

The idea behind privatising the energy sector was to increase efficiency and reduce prices by introducing competition and offering households more options. However, the reality was quite different. The Big Six took advantage of the newly liberalized market, formed an oligopoly and focused on making as much profit as possible for their shareholders. By the end of the decade, energy prices were rocket high and many households were left unable to pay their bills. Ebico decided to do something about it.

In 1998 we came up with a new not-for-profit business model that focused on tackling Britain’s fuel poverty issue and giving back to our customers. Unlike the Big Six suppliers, Ebico set up as a Limited by Guarantee Company. This meant that instead of focusing on shareholders and profit, we could focus on re-investing our financial surpluses in our business and helping those in, or at risk of, fuel poverty.

Our mission was simple – to offer affordable energy deals to everyone and fight fuel poverty. We found that households using Pay As You Go meters were generally the households which struggled the most financially, yet they were the ones being discriminated against and were not being offered the best prices by energy suppliers.

In 2009 Ebico went one step further and became the first energy company to set up a system whereby any of our operating surplus was donated to a charity, the Ebico Trust. The Ebico Trust was created to support projects in fuel-poor communities, helping them reduce their energy bills. Our donations to the Trust exceeded 1.3m.

In January 2017, to boost our commitment to our fight against fuel poverty, we established a new energy partnership with Robin Hood Energy. Like Ebico, Robin Hood Energy is a not-for-profit company and is dedicated to providing affordable energy. Together, we can continue our fight against rising fuel poverty in the UK, providing energy deals that function fairly for all consumers.

Today, the Big Six continue to dominate the industry. Combined, they have about 79% of market share for electricity and 78% for gas (December 2017). This could be due to the fact that over most households in Britain have never changed suppliers.

In the past 20 years Ebico has driven a lot of change, but we still have more work to do in the coming years. Although there has been progress, and we are on the way to tackling fuel poverty and creating a fairer energy market, we still feel there is a lot more we could do to help.

Our goals for the next coming years are to:

  • Continue to help as many financially vulnerable households out of fuel poverty as possible
  • Continue to develop innovative energy plans for our customers to suit modern day living
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Give a green helping hand

Our energy is sourced, either directly from the generators themselves, or through a green wholesale energy provider which has established relationships with a community of green generators. By switching to an Ebico electricity or dual fuel price plan you’re supporting an increase in the overall amount of green energy delivered to British households.

As a consumer of energy in your own home you can now be part of saving the planet and supporting those in fuel poverty. As the first not-for profit energy provider in the UK, our profit surpluses go into supporting people in fuel poverty who are unable to heat and light their own homes.

Over one third of the UK’s energy is now produced from renewable sources including; solar, wind and hydro. The momentum for energy supply to come from renewables has never been stronger and Ebico is proud to be the part of this positive trend. You can find out more about green energy here.

We offer various plans to suit your lifestyle and budget. Today you can support those in fuel poverty whilst feeling warm and toasty this winter and at the same time reduce the climate change impact.

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Changes to Ebico’s zero standing charge energy plan

This year, following UK Government legislation, the energy market Regulator (Ofgem) has developed a mechanism for capping variable and default energy plans. We engaged with Ofgem (you can find our response here) during the consultation period for the Price Cap and highlighted the risk that the Cap would force us to end the zero standing charge variable plan. Unfortunately, Ofgem did not change their plans in response to our representations. Regrettably, the Price Cap, being implemented by the end of the year, makes our Ebico Zero variable energy plan structure commercially non-viable. To remain both compliant and commercially viable, we have had to review the Ebico Zero energy plan and introduce a standing charge. As the revised plan will include a standing charge, its name will change to ‘Ebico Standard’.

We understand that, for most of our customers, the no standing charge element of the Ebico Zero energy plan is its key feature which they will want to keep. So, we have introduced Ebico Zero Green Fixed. This is a no standing charge, green, fixed term energy contract and, as it is not our default contract, it is not subject to the Price Cap mechanisms. The price is fixed for 12 months and the energy plan has no exit fees, giving customers complete peace of mind. For compliance reasons, customers are asked to opt-in to the Ebico Zero Green Fixed energy plan. We have made this opt-in process easy and straight-forward and customers can switch with a click of a button through their online account management portal or call our dedicated opt-in line on 0800 953 9597 (Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm).

Below is a comparison between Ebico Zero and Ebico Zero Green Fixed.

Ebico Zero Ebico Zero Green Fixed v2
Zero standing charge Zero standing charges
Variable price
(the price can go up and down at any time with 30 days notice)
12 months fixed price
1% unit rate reduction for paying by Direct Debit 4.5% unit rate reduction for paying by Direct Debit
No tie-ins or Exit fees No tie-ins or Exit fees
Green energy plan1

1 The electricity that we provide for our green energy plans will be certified as being sourced from UK based wind and solar generators. We actively look for opportunities to support new schemes but some of our energy will be provided from existing UK based projects.



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Ebico PrePay energy plan price increase

Last year Ofgem, the energy market Regulator, introduced a cap on the price that suppliers charge Pay As You Go (PAYG) meter customers. The cap is reviewed by Ofgem every 6 months and, in April this year, it was raised. This prompted many of our competitors to increase their prices in line with the cap. We, however, left our Ebico PrePay price unchanged. Unfortunately, over the last year the cost of wholesale energy has increased significantly, and we are no longer able to absorb these costs. So, from 31st August 2018, we will be increasing our Ebico PrePay energy plan price by an average 5.6% for a dual fuel customer.

We are writing to all our customer individually with their personalised new energy price and cost.

Whilst we are increasing our Ebico PrePay energy plan price, we have still managed to keep the price below the Ofgem’s price cap levels.

If you’re an Ebico PrePay energy plan customer, you don’t need to do anything, the new prices will be applied to your meter when you top up on, or after, 31st August.

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The Warm Home Discount scheme is back for the winter of 2018/19

We are pleased to announce that, along with our supply partner Robin Hood Energy, we will be participating in the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme this winter and will be able to offer the WHD credit to customers that are in the scheme’s ‘Core Group’. These are customers who receive the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will provide us with the details of those of our customers who are registered for the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit and we will process that information as soon as we receive it.

Core Group credit customers will have the payment automatically applied to their account and it will be shown as credit on their bill or statement.

Core Group SMART Pay as You Go metered customers will have their meter credited automatically.

Core Group traditional Pay As You Go metered customers will receive a top up voucher which can be redeemed for a Pay As You Go Meter credit at the local Post Office.

Ebico CEO, Phil Levermore, said, “We’re delighted to be participating in the Warm Home Discount Scheme this year. Ebico was set-up 20 years ago to tackle fuel poverty in Britain, and the WHD payments will provide much-needed help to many financially vulnerable homes this winter.”

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Ebico Zero energy plan price increase

Over the years we’ve worked hard to keep the price of Ebico Zero (formerly EquiGas & EquiPower) as stable as possible. Indeed, since 2013 we have had no price increases, reduced our prices twice and provided two price guarantees. However, over the past few months the wholesale cost of both gas and electricity have been rising and we are now being forced to increase the price of the Ebico Zero energy plan.

Despite the rising cost of wholesale energy, we have insulated our customers from these increases through the winter, and the new prices will not take effect until the 1st March 2018.

Whilst we know that this increase is disappointing, Ebico Zero does remain amongst the simplest energy price plans available to British households with a zero standing charge, no tiered rates and no tie-ins or exit fees and, as an Ebico customer, you join us in the fight against fuel poverty in Britain.

Customers on the other Ebico energy plans are not affected by this change.

All customers applying since 15th January will have had their quotation based on the new prices.

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Ebico is Ethical Consumer Magazine’s Best Buy

Ebico has been awarded Ethical Consumer’s ‘Best Buy’ label after achieving top-marks in the ethical magazine’s annual rating. Ebico received its Best Buy accreditation for being a socially ethical electricity & gas company and as a result of our non-profit status and fair pricing structure.
We are very proud of becoming a Best Buy Label holder as it demonstrates that our efforts to provide affordable energy and to provide help to those in fuel poverty are recognised.

The Mark, below, alongside the Social Enterprise Mark, provides our customers with reassurance that they are purchasing their energy from an ethical energy company.

By joining Ebico, all our customers join with us in the fight against fuel poverty in Britain. You can find out more about the great work that Ebico Trust-supported projects do here.

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We have launched our new smart energy plan featuring free overnight electricity

With a 0 p/kWh off-peak (i.e. overnight) electricity rate, Ebico’s new Night Owl smart energy plan offers a great deal to households who use Economy 7 off-peak power to charge their night storage heaters.

Ebico CEO, Phil Levermore, explained:
“For households without a mains gas supply, night storage heaters can be a convenient way of heating the home. In practice, however, winter fuel bills with this form of heating can come as a nasty shock – particularly if it turns-out to be a very cold winter. As a result, electrically-heated homes are 70% more likely to be in fuel poverty, and that fuel poverty to be 70% deeper, than homes heated with mains gas1. Night Owl offers winter peace of mind to households using E7 heaters. With an overnight electricity rate of zero pence per kilowatt-hour, night storage units can be charged as much as necessary at no marginal cost.”

He continued:
“Nineteen years ago, as Britain’s first not-for-profit energy provider dedicated to tackling fuel poverty, we were the first company to charge our prepayment-metered customers the same as our credit customers – and so helped bring an end to higher charges for prepay customers, nationally. We launched the first energy plan with a zero standing-charge, so our customers only had to pay for the electricity and gas they used. Continuing our commitment to affordable warmth and utilising the flexibility that smart metering now gives us, we’re launching Night Owl, the first smart energy plan to offer a zero-priced night-time electricity rate to homes with Economy 7 heating.”

Click here to find out more about the Ebico Night Owl energy plan.



1 Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, 2017. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

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Closure of EquiGas and EquiPower

In March this year we wrote to all our customers announcing that our, then, supply partner, SSE Plc, had informed us that they could no longer guarantee the future of the EquiGas & EquiPower and that, as a consequence, we had brought our partnership with SSE to an end and were launching a new, and cheaper, zero standing charge energy plan, ‘Ebico Zero’ with our new supply partner, Robin Hood Energy.

We understand that SSE has now written to those customers who remained supplied under the EquiGas/EquiPower arrangements advising them that the tariff will cease on the 24th of August and that, after that date, they will be transferred onto SSE’s standard variable tariff (SVT) – which does have a standing charge.

If you have any questions about this letter, or its contents, you should contact SSE Customer Services by calling 0345 071 9710 or emailing headofcustomerserviceteam@sse.com.

If you are supplied through a credit meter, and wish to remain supplied under a zero standing charge energy plan1 – and with a lower energy rate than that currently being charged by SSE, click here for a quick quote, or call us on 0300 004 03 08.

1. Please note that the Warm Homes Discount (WHD) is not currently available through Ebico energy plans, provided via our supply partnership with Robin Hood Energy.

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Project Nexus

All gas customers who register to switch gas supplier between the 3rd May 2017 and the 28th May 2017, including those switching to Ebico Zero or Ebico PrePay, will experience a slight delay in their switch, as against normal transfer times. However, all customers will be brought on supply within 6 weeks of their registration date. Dual fuel customers who switch during this time will experience slightly different supply start dates for their electric and gas supplies.

Supplies for customers will remain uninterrupted during this period, including those in the process of switching between suppliers, and all emergency metering services and engineer visits will continue as per normal.

For further information please see the information provided on the OFGEM website:


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