When you see something you love, something special you helped create, stumble and fall – it hurts.
You reach out. You try to catch it, to save it. You do everything you can to avoid the pain. And then when it topples and fails, it’s heartbreaking.
As co-founders of Pure Planet this is exactly how we feel right now. And we know our wonderful 200-strong team feel the same way too.
If you’re a Member, we thank you so much for putting your trust in us to supply your home with renewable electricity and carbon-offset gas. We’re truly sorry to have let you down by not being able to keep Pure Planet going for you. We realise some may feel we could have said something about this sooner but, please believe us, our hands were tied by the legal process we have had to follow.
It wasn’t meant to be like this, of course. Pure Planet has been much praised: we have many awards to our credit. We’re one of only two Which? Recommended Suppliers – and for the second year running; we are proud of our Uswitch award for the best app in energy retail; and we were thrilled to have built the number one utility company to work for, according to Best Companies.
We have a vibrant Community of Members, who freely and generously help other Members out. Thank you for all you’ve done to support each other and us.
We recently passed our Ofgem milestone assessment with flying colours, which is designed to make sure we are a well-run, fit-for-purpose energy supplier. We had hedged the energy we promised to supply to our Members through to next spring and beyond.
We were on track for our first profits at the end of this financial year. We have had a supportive backer in bp – one of the biggest energy companies in the world. But all of that was not enough to stop the fall.
So why are we yet another energy supplier to have failed? Was it because we are ‘small’? No. Was it because we are badly run? With respect, we’d argue not. Did we get everything right? Of course not. We could always have improved.
But it’s because, despite all the good things we’ve mentioned, we were being forced to lose money through a combination of sky-rocketing global wholesale energy prices clashing with a domestic staid government and regulatory policy – the price cap.
Simply, the rules prevented us from covering our costs. We are being forced to sell energy at prices way below the true cost. That’s wiped out those forecast profits and turned them into a thumping great loss, with even more risk on top.
While we appreciate the price cap is a way to protect consumers; there is no policy designed equally to protect suppliers from the very same enormous wholesale price rises we have seen these past few months. This creates an imbalance and the result is insolvency. And it’s why so many suppliers have folded this year.
It wasn’t necessarily because they were badly run; but because they were being prevented, badly, from being able to run. Sadly, we expect even more suppliers will follow, causing needless disruption to the sector, unless something changes soon.
The Government says it won’t bail out failing companies. Yet it has helped, and is suggesting it will help, other industries which face sky high global energy prices – such as the CO2 and steel makers. But not yet energy retailers. Our view is that this is a deeply short-sighted approach which will increase energy consumers’ bills by more than necessary and reduce innovation at a time when the sector is crying out for more.
None of this leaves consumers in a good place. You’ll be moved to a new supplier you didn’t choose. Your price might well go up in the short term, and yet again next year. As the supplier count shrinks, genuine choice will be harder to find.
And if all we are left with is the rump of the Big 6 who, let’s face it, haven’t been known for sparkling service and inventiveness in the past, where will the innovation to get to Net Zero come from?
Tackling climate change is the challenge of our times. We sincerely hope energy companies are allowed to thrive sufficiently in the future to help everyone decarbonise. We all need energy, and we need it to be green.
Thank you again to all our Members. We are so grateful for your support - and your patience as you are moved to a new energy company. Please don’t give up on the fight to create a Net Zero future. Thanks to our suppliers.
And a special thanks to our effervescent energy team at Pure Planet. You have been an absolute joy to work alongside – be proud of what we achieved. You did everything asked of you and more.
With hopeful wishes for a better, more sustainable future.
Andrew, Chris & Steven
Co-founders, Pure Planet