Ovo’s own spectacular growth since 2009 has been fuelled by the commercial woes suffered by other insurgent players in the sector. Since the beginning of 2018, at least 28 companies involved in the competitive supply of electricity to retail customers across the UK have gone bust. Two of them – the Selkirk-based Spark Energy a year ago and Economy Energy last January – have alone added 525,000 customers to Ovo’s customer base under Ofcom transfers. If the SSE sale goes through, Ovo’s base will soar to five million customers. Mr Fitzpatrick’s creation has equally grandiose ambitions when it comes to confronting the challenges of climate change. This year he released Ovo’s sustainability strategy, Plan Zero. “The need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the biggest, most pressing challenge facing humankind,” it says. “Our technology will enable grids to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and give our customers the ability to power their lives whilst protecting the planet.” How will a retail supplier of electricity and gas to five million customers, using power supplied by others like SSE and National Grid, propose to make that happen? “We will mobilise our customers to form a zero-carbon community, helping them halve their total lifestyle carbon emissions and eliminate their household emissions completely by 2030.” Given the latest warnings from the World Meteorological Organisation on emission levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases reaching new highs last year, is it credible that answers can be found in worthy prescriptions like Ovo’s Plan Zero? Jeremy Corbyn may not win on December 12, but is further pursuit of the profit motive any kind of answer to our climate crisis?
Times 27th Nov 2019 read more »