Spark Energy, which supplies gas and electricity to the residential letting sector, has secured a £200,000 investment from the Scottish Investment Bank to help consolidate its position as a leading UK energy supplier.
Of the 15 smaller energy suppliers in the Which? Customer satisfaction survey, Spark Energy – the only firm headquartered in Scotland – outranks all of the Big Six.
Visiting the company’s offices in Selkirk after a Scot-Government Cabinet meeting in the town, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The success of Spark Energy is excellent news for the Borders. Small suppliers have a critical role to play in improving the choice, service and transparency which has been lacking in the past.
“With the right support, there are tremendous opportunities for smaller suppliers to make real changes to the energy market, which is why to date the Scottish Investment Bank has invested £855,000 in Spark Energy.
“I would also like to congratulate the team at the Selkirk site, who have very recently secured their 100,000th customer, this is a testament to the hard work of all involved here.”
Spark Energy chief executive Chris Gauld said: “We are thrilled to welcome the First Minister here today, and see his visit and the funding from the Scottish Investment Bank as recognition that we are getting it right – employing over 200 people in an area which has major employment challenges, bettering the Big Six for customer service, breaking the 100,000 customer barrier and showing that there is a very important role for independent suppliers in ensuring real competition in the energy market.
“Small suppliers have a critical role to play in improving the choice, service and transparency which the industry has been lacking in the past. In my view, not enough has been done to support small suppliers and to ensure a level playing field.
“It’s been an uphill struggle for us to enter this complex and high risk industry and to truly challenge the established Big Six without having to compromise on service and price. Margins are small and finance is difficult to come by but I’m delighted that we have reached our current stage”.
Set up six years ago, the Borders-based energy supplier turned over more than £40 million in 2013, when it also reported its first annual profit of £337,000.