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Q&A: Good Energy

We speak to renewable energy supplier, Good Energy, about their ethical business and the growing demand for green energy. 

Tell us a bit about your business

Good Energy was the first UK energy company to provide 100% renewable electricity when we started back in 1999. There have never been any fossil fuels or nuclear in our “electricity fuel mix” and there never will be.

As well as our own wind and solar farms, we source our electricity from a network of over 1,000 independent renewable generators all over Britain – from schools with solar panels on their roofs to hydro stations in the Welsh mountains – supplying thousands of homes and businesses via the National Grid.

Our green gas – which we launched in 2016 – is completely carbon neutral. With 6% coming from biomethane – sourced from food waste here in the UK - emissions from the rest of the gas our customers use is neutralised by supporting verified carbon-reduction schemes in Malawi, Vietnam and Nepal.

Good Energy was founded by our CEO Juliet Davenport at the turn of the last millennium to help provide a consumer response to climate change. Seventeen years later, we’re still based in Wiltshire, with more than 300 staff working at our head office in Chippenham.  At the last count, we supplied 100% renewable electricity, green gas and feed-in-tariff administration services to around 240,000 UK homes and businesses.

Image: Juliet Davenport
CEO Juliet Davenport

Why do you think you received our Best Buy Label? How do you differ from other competitors?

Unlike many of the smaller suppliers, we’ve been around a long time – 17 years. We’ve got lots of experience and customers trust us.

When you’re with Good Energy you’re joining an ethical company, which prides itself on doing the right thing for our customers, our employees, the communities where we operate and for the environment. 

For customers, this means they can be assured of 100% renewable electricity and green gas at fair prices, and with great customer service. In addition to our ethical awards, we’re also the only energy company to be awarded a score of more than 81% in the annual Which? energy company customer satisfaction survey for five years running.  

We’ve also topped three consecutive polls for customer service by users. We achieve these standards by looking after our people – Good Energy works hard to be a great place to work. In 2015, we became one of the first energy companies to be accredited as a Living Wage employer- just one way to show we care about our staff as well as our customers. 

We’ve always taken great care on where and how we source our energy. We currently own and operate two wind farms, including the UK’s first commercial wind farm at Delabole in Cornwall which recently turned 25, and seven solar farms. All are developed and operated with the highest standards of care for the local environment, and with the active involvement of local communities. The remainder of the renewable electricity we source comes from carefully selected independent generators from around the UK, including a number of flagship community energy schemes.

If you had to sum up the ethos of Good Energy in two sentences, what would it be?

You don’t have to be “green” to switch to Good Energy. If you want good customer service and an ethical British business which treats its customers, staff and power generators fairly, then we are for you. It’s good energy from good people. 

Have you ever had to make a business decision that challenged your ethical standpoint?

Although we know from countless surveys that the British public overwhelmingly support renewable energy, often when you’re trying to develop a new wind or solar farm it doesn’t seem that way - and at times local opposition can throw up some interesting challenges.

For this reason, we created our renewables development charter. This charter commits us to open and honest engagement with local communities from the very outset of any new development and to creating opportunities for local people to benefit from, and where possible invest in their local wind or solar farm. We make sure to continue our links with those communities which host our developments long after any permission is granted, and the site is built.

This charter also promises that all of our renewable projects are only developed on land where biodiversity, agriculture and renewable energy can flourish side by side. We carry out thorough environmental assessments, taking the utmost care to protect and enhance the land.

Through this unique combination of consultation, care for the environment and long-term involvement in and support for the community, we like to think our approach sets us apart from many other developers.

Do you think there has been a significant switch to renewable energy over the past 5 years?

Definitely! In recent years, we have seen more and more customers becoming much more careful about the kind of businesses they give their money to.  They want an ethical company that treats the environment and its customers and staff fairly. So that is a great opportunity for us.

Image: Good Energy wind farm
Lower End, Solar Farm

With more and more people growing tired of the big, old-fashioned suppliers, wanting to do their bit for the planet and committing to renewable sources of energy, there has been a growing movement of customers and businesses wanting to choose companies like Good Energy.

Where would you like to see Good Energy in the next 5 years?

Good Energy hopes to continue to be at the forefront of the energy industry in the next five years, leading on innovation and pioneering new products and compelling offers which helps put customers at the heart of the market.

Good Energy is about creating change, challenging the status quo and proving that individuals and people can make a difference. By 2020 we want to use this aim to get big and get great, supplying more and more people with renewable energy and providing an even better level of service that our customers have come to expect from us.

See the Good Energy website for more information.  

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