Good Energy, the renewable energy company based in the heart of Wiltshire, is truly of the zeitgeist.
It is one of the leading suppliers of renewable power in the UK today; it is also one of the main proponents for action to prevent further climate change, thanks in large part to the energetic dedication of Juliet Davenport, its founder and CEO. It is also traded on NEX Exchange. “This really started for me with climate change,” says Davenport, who points to the October IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) special report on global warming as being a “pretty stark” warning of what we are in for unless swift action is taken. “I wake each day and I want to make sure that the UK and that Good Energy is doing as much as it can. That’s the passion that drives the company. I think people who work here know why we exist – they know what we are trying to do.”
Good Energy was founded in 1999 and it had a rocky few years, acquiring 3,000 customers quite quickly. By 2018 its total customer base had grown to 250,000 and the company is clearly here to stay. “When you are trying to do something completely new in the market, there are always difficulties,” says Davenport. “You encounter cynical investors who don’t believe that your passion is enough to drive the company. Getting more investors into the company was really hard work – actually going out and buying power was quite a problem for a long time. We had to create a new marketplace, in renewable energy, which we have spent the last 20 years building.” The energy supply market in this country has mushroomed. From around 10 independent suppliers just two or three years ago, there are now well over 50. That alone should guarantee greater competition – but it equally poses problems for the consumer: how to choose? How can one be certain that a new supplier will be stable and strong enough to be around for a while?
One of the first challenges Davenport faced was to raise money to build the company.
She went down the classic route of seeing venture capitalists, private equity, early stage investors and so forth: none were interested in green products. “They couldn’t understand anybody selling anything except on price,” she says. “And then I kept overhearing conversations of our customer care team that people – customers – wanted to invest in the business. I said: ‘we need some money; our customers keep saying they’d like to put money into the company.’ So we did an EIS prospectus in 2002, and raised £600,000 in about two weeks. That was the genesis of our becoming listed.”
The range of choices is quite broad, so why choose NEX Exchange? Davenport explains that “the other reason for becoming public is that money is very important, in terms of the energy it brings to industry. If you put money into businesses that protect the planet then that is the outcome you’ll get. The point is to make sure there are enough companies out there to invest in that will do good. Through their impact segment, NEX Exchange is giving investors confidence that there are companies out there that are doing things that will make a difference to our society.”
It has not been easy to get to this stage, and having a supportive exchange is critical. The government has, for the last decade repeatedly told customers they should think about switching supplier on price, neglecting the service aspects and environmental concerns, two areas where Good Energy scores highly. Its energy comes entirely from certified renewable sources such as wind power, biofuels, hydro and solar and the name Good Energy has become a valuable asset in a market dominated by faceless, blandly‐titled giants.
Davenport’s aspiration for the future is to be “a major player in supporting consumers in balancing and using energy in their own homes.” With NEX Exchange in support, she can be confident that her and her company’s green energy revolution will power ahead.
For more information on NEX Exchange quoted Good Energy Group PLC please visit www.nexexchange.com