A small energy supplier that has been around for more than 20 years, Ebico Energy is a not-for-profit company that works to end fuel poverty.
Total customers: 60,000+
Boasting one of the longest lifespans of any of the small energy suppliers in the market, Ebico Energy was founded in 1998. It specialises in creating plans that are easily manageable and maintainable by customers faced with fuel poverty. As a Limited by Guarantee company, Ebico does not have any shareholders, instead, the ethical energy company invests profits in projects that help fuel-poor communities under Ebico Trust, a registered charity.
Ebico aims to serve those households where energy bills are considered a significant outgoing, such as those living below the poverty line.
A key point of difference for this small energy supplier is its ethical standpoint when it comes to power. Ebico tariffs have been designed to help combat fuel poverty. It is a fully certified social enterprise and offers several plans designed to make warm homes a reality for everyone.
Over two million UK households are in fuel poverty. Due to loss of work, being veterans, having insufficient pensions or a host of other reasons, poverty poor households are often driven further into financial crisis when their unpaid energy bills lead to them being put on prepaid meters. A costlier option than fixed rate monthly bills, Ebico tries to counter this by creating plans that offer discounts for those who pay by direct debit, have no exit fees or are designed to be as competitively priced as possible.
Ebico offers Economy 7 tariffs to help users make the most of the energy they pay for and take advantage of off-peak times.
Its smart meters also offer a convenient and clear way for customers to stay on top of their spending. Working on a pay as you go model, these meters monitor energy consumption in real time, and customers can see their spending displayed on a digital IHD (In Home Display) that is provided for free when then meter is installed.
Ebico ensures that there is less risk of being left without power by allowing users to top up their smart meters online or by phone, while the traditional top-up methods of popping into the post office or corner shop are also possible.
Designed for flexibility for when customers are able to move away from pay as you go prepaid meters, the smart meter is also able to revert to a credit meter. So, if a customer who was once placed on a prepaid meter has recovered a strong enough credit score to once again pay by direct debit, Ebico customer service can carry out a tariff switch and ensure the meter is turned to credit mode, feeding back meter readings automatically.
Ebico’s current supply partner is Robin Hood Energy. Through this partnership, Robin Hood provides energy and also helps Ebico customer service be more streamlined through account management. Ebico’s previous partner was SSE, but following SSE’s decision to close some Ebico tariffs to new customers, the suppliers ended the collaboration.
Further to its ethical contributions, Ebico also offers an ‘Extra Help’ service which places customers with disabilities or pensioners on the Priority Service Register (PSR). Customers also have the opportunity to set up a password with Ebico customer service. This means that when Ebico calls or a service person from the brand visits a customer’s home, they can prove they are genuine by confirming the password.
Ebico also offers the Warm Home Discount, but only for those who are of pensionable age. These details are provided to Ebico by the Department of Work and Pensions, so elderly customers do not have to worry about notifying their supplier first, the credit will be put in their personal Ebico account automatically.
Ebico Energy has its own registered charity, Ebico Trust. The charity invests £60,000 every quarter into projects that aim to fight fuel poverty and welcomes organisations to approach them for funding. It then requires the projects to report back on the work they are doing and what they have achieved to date. These reports are publicly available on Ebico’s website. Some of its current projects include:
Based in Penrith, Cumbria, this project, set up by the charity Cumbria Action for Sustainability, aims to educate individuals, businesses and communities on the importance of sustainability. Educational events, practical projects and site visits have all been made possible by Ebico Trust, showing customers how they can save money by saving energy and helping to combat fuel poverty.
This project, operating in Cornwall, aims to help unpaid carers manage their money more effectively, save energy and help tackle fuel poverty. Carried out in partnership with Cornwall Rural Community Charity which supports over 6,000 unpaid carers, the project also covers the Isles of Scilly. Despite having a population of just 2,200 people, Scilly suffers from fuel poverty in almost a quarter of households due to energy being 66% more expensive than the mainland.
Many properties in East Devon do not have gas supplies, leading to the burning of unsuitable fuels in the multi-fuel stoves some households use. The result is damage that is expensive to repair, driving homes further into fuel poverty. The East Devon Log Bank ensures that individuals have access to suitable wood to burn and heat their homes.
If you are a customer who isn’t able to consider pricier tariffs or needs a supplier who understands the financial burden that energy bills can be, Ebico can be a good choice. Similarly, if you simply want to support a supplier who is truly trying to make a difference and realises that access to energy is not as easy for some as it is for others, signing up for an Ebico tariff can help fund positive change.