Victorian startup Energy Locals has raised $2 million in funding from NSW renewable energy company Cape Byron Power.
The funding will go towards furthering the startup’s expansion around Australia, while Energy Locals will also buy its energy directly from Cape Byron Power, which operates a biomass power station in NSW, as part of the deal.
The startup was founded in 2016 by Adrian Merrick, a former executive at Energy Australia.
Speaking to Startup Daily earlier this year, Merrick explained the work of Energy Locals quite simply: “We sell cleaner energy for a fixed fee and without screwing customers.”
Promising customers that it does not profit from their usage and that it will make sure they are always on the best tariff, Energy Locals charges wholesale prices and a membership fee of $4.50 a week.
Currently operating in NSW, the ACT, and southeast Queensland, the funding from Cape Byron Power will help Energy Locals push further in these states, and expand into Victoria and South Australia.
Brian Restall, a director of Cape Byron Power, said, “Through our partnership with Energy Locals, customers can directly buy clean energy for no more than what most customers pay for standard fossil fuel-sourced power from their traditional energy company.
“In fact, many customers will actually save money on their existing energy bill while making the switch to clean energy.”
With the startup already serving more than 5,000 customers, Merrick believes big energy companies have lost the trust of customers.
“Transparency is the arch enemy of large energy companies so we’re taking them on where it hurts the most, and we’re proving that customers have an appetite for it through our growth to date. This is the CostCo of the energy industry.”
The growth of Energy Locals and fellow up and comers such as Powershop follows the release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report on the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry, which made almost 60 recommendations aimed at fixing the myriad issues it found.
“The National Electricity Market is largely broken and needs to be reset,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“It is clear that most households are paying far too much for electricity. In addition, some of the most vulnerable in our community are forced to struggle through freezing winters and scorching summers, with many others also having difficulty paying their bills.”
Sims cited “various approaches to policy, regulatory design and competition in the sector” as key factors contributing to problems in the sector – a notion underscored by months of debate over the government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee, which has now been shelved.
Image: Adrian Merrick. Source: Supplied.