Eon UK chief executive shrugs off SNP pledge to launch not for profit energy company

The SNP’s pledge to launch of a not for profit, publicly owned energy company “will not change the market. It just goes to show how competitive the market is,” Eon UK’s chief executive Michael Lewis has claimed.

Speaking at Utility Week Congress this week, Lewis responded to an audience question on the potential impact if the SNP policy announcement, saying: “We’ve already got around 60 competitors in the market, one more isn’t going to change that picture.”

He added that plenty of not for profit, municipality-owned energy companies already exist and are competing with mainstream players. He pointed to Bristol Energy as an example.

“It’s another competitor in the market,” he concluded. “It doesn’t change the market. It just shows how competitive the market is.”

Ofgem chairman David Gray, agreed. Responding to the same question he echoed Lewis’s views and said Ofgem is “in favour of new entrants”.

While Lewis sees no particular threat from the rise of not for profit energy companies, owned by municipalities, broader discussion at Utility Week’s event did emphasize his enthusiasm for partnering with local authorities and municipalities for the delivery of smart energy solutions – including electric vehicle infrastructure.

Lewis said the forging such partnerships is “top of our agenda”.

He explained how Eon is targeting partnerships with local authorities and devolved regions, such as Greater Manchester, West Midlands and London, “to look at how we can help manage, not just energy solutions for municipalities – whether that’s district heating or helping with home insultation for social housing – but also looking at how the transport system can evolve in view of electric vehicles.”

He said the rise of electric vehicles offers “a key opportunity for the UK, and for a company like Eon.”

Earlier this month Eon launch a new green tariff for EV owners which gives them access to cheaper energy for overnight charging.

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