Nottingham City Council has launched "Robin Hood Energy", which it says is the first council-owned, not-for-profit energy company to supply households across England, Scotland and Wales since nationalisation of the industry in 1948. But is it any good?
Robin Hood Energy has its own licence, meaning it doesn't need to "piggyback" off other energy suppliers, and despite being based in Nottingham, two of its three tariffs are available across England, Scotland and Wales.
But unusually, the firm is one of the only not-for-profit energy providers on the market. Another energy company, Ebico, says it's not-for-profit, but it supplies energy in partnership with big six provider SSE.
Robin Hood Energy says it's able to be not-for-profit because it keeps overheads down and reinvests all surplus revenue back into the company. Its 40 staff members don't receive bonuses and its directors are not paid a salary.
However, Robin Hood Energy will use any revenue generated to repay a loan, which was taken out to set up the company.
How good are its tariffs?
Robin Hood has launched three tariffs, all of which have no exit fees if you leave early. It also says it won't credit check customers joining the firm, or ask for a security deposit to get a tariff.
The tariffs it's offering cost a typical dual fuel user paying by direct debit the following:
- Prime (a one year fix): £859/year.
- Evergreen (its standard variable tariff): £904/year.
- Nottingham (a one year fix for those living in certain Nottingham postcodes only): £810/year.
It says it will launch a prepay tariff in the coming weeks.
But while its cheapest tariff open to all is £859/year for a typical user, which is over £200/year cheaper than the average big six tariff at £1,095, there are still cheaper deals available for switchers.
Even those in Nottingham where its cheapest tariff is available should compare prices elsewhere first, as prices vary depending on where you live and how much energy you use. See the table below for a full comparison of all the best buys – these are based on a national average price.
How do Robin Hood Energy's tariffs compare?
|Tariff||Supplier||Fixed until||Exit fee||Cost/yr|
|Avg big 6 standard tariff||-||Variable||-||£1,095|
|Cheapest tariff on the market (only via MSE collective switch (i))||E.on||12 months||£30/fuel||£814|
|Cheapest open market variable||GB Energy||Variable||-||£831|
|Cheapest open market fix||Extra Energy||30 Nov 2016||£25/fuel||£850|
|Cheapest Robin Hood tariff open to all||Robin Hood Energy||12 months||-||£859|
|Tariffs correct at 16 Sep 2015. Based on typical dual fuel usage and payment by direct debit. (i) Ends 10pm 17 Sept 15.|
What is its customer service like?
As it's a new supplier we've not yet had any feedback on its customer service.
It says it has a call centre of 30 people managing its phone line from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am-5pm on Saturday. Accounts can also be managed online.
Act now to cut bills
To summarise, as the table above shows, if you're sat on a standard tariff you could save hundreds each year by switching. So, you should:
- Do a price comparison via our free Cheap Energy Club (which also gives up to £30 cashback if you switch) to see if you can save.
- If possible, pay by monthly direct debit, and give your provider regular meter readings to keep bills accurate.
- Check if you can cut your usage using our Free Insulation and Energy Mythbusting guides.