New supplier brands putting customers on SVTs as ‘abhorrent’

Outfox the Market due to launch same day as British Gas price hike

A new renewable energy supplier, which launches next week, has set its sights on the Big Six by branding the process of putting customers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) as “abhorrent”.

Outfox the Market is due to launch on 15 September, which is the same day that the controversial 12.5 per cent price hike by British Gas comes into force.

Speaking to Utility Week, the firm’s head of operations, Brad Goodfellow, said the new supplier will use a business model, which has already proved popular in Denmark.

Goodfellow said for a monthly membership fee, customers will be able to buy electricity directly at wholesale prices.

The company will make 100 membership places available a day after it launches and customers will be able to add their name to a waiting list via the supplier’s website.

“The Danish model gives the customer the option of buying at wholesale energy prices and to judge whether they think the membership fee is appropriate,” he told Utility Week.

“It gives the customer a clear and simple option to see how energy is priced.”

“We have a great base to build on,” he added. “We have a long-term partnership set up with Dong Energy to obtain the latest information in terms of hedging and forecasting, so we can keep our costs as low as possible.

“We can take the fat out of the supply chain and that for the customer is going to be part of our USP.”

Goodfellow added he believes the “practice of putting people on SVT is abhorrent”.

“Electricity and gas are fundamentals of life, in the same way oxygen is. To have such a wide variation in prices is unfair.

“The regulation should be if the customer comes off a fixed tariff they go onto the cheapest available. I would hope one day that SVT would end. I think there are some signs of it happening, but we’re a long way off.

“The only way it will change is by challenger companies coming along and providing the level of service that customers want.

“When I speak to customers, all they want is fair-priced energy, to be treated well and to know if they pick up the phone, someone will answer immediately.”