Utility Week Live catches up with Cheryl Latham, Chief executive and founder, Brighter World Energy, and a Utility Week Live 2017 Transformation Leader
On the surface, Cheryl Latham has created a new energy company which has started to win customers in the UK. Whilst an admirable achievement on its own, there are more than 50 other retailers in this space, so is not a transformational achievement.
The reason why the chief executive of Brighter World Energy has been voted into Utility Week Live’s top ten transformative individuals is the unique nature of her energy retailer.
Whereas many of her rivals promise sector leading prices, high quality customer service, or a green and environmental benefit, Brighter World Energy was developed from the ground up to have a social conscience via a profit for purpose model which will see micro grids developed in remote villages in Africa which do not currently have power.
In an exclusive interview with Utility Week Live, Latham says the idea for brighter World energy came from the paradox that UK consumers were being over charged by £1.2 billion, whilst 600 million people in Africa didn’t have access to energy at all. “We didn’t really know how the two could exist together,” she says. Latham has brought emotion into the otherwise mundane task of switching energy supplier. And it has been working.
Around 90 per cent of customers have been people who had previously been with one of the major six energy suppliers and not switched for at least three years. Latham is “unsticking the stickies”. “The energy industry was in need for something different. I think we’re truly differentiated proposition on the market.
We’re asking people to come to us because we’re a values-driven company and that goes right the way throughout the company.” The promise is that for every 2,000 customers that join Brighter World Energy, a solar powered microgrid is built in Africa. But that alone is not enough for Latham. She is keen for her customers to have a connection to the good that is taking place.
Currently under development is an online platform that will allow customer to zoom in on the African village that has benefitted from a microgrid as a result of their custom, as well as stories and real life testimonies.
On top of this, some lucky customers will be invited to join Latham to visit one of these villages “to see their grid and their village and tell that story to others”. Latham adds its creating that emotional driver to switch and do something good at the same time. “we are empowering them to give back without giving more and by engaging them we hope they will begin to understand and appreciate what they’re giving.”
Brighter World Energy is an energy supplier 2.0. It is offering a unique proposition, and shaking up the status quo with a genuinely attractive proposition that is winning fans and plaudits.
Cheryl Latham is speaking exclusively at Utility Week Live 2017, alongside John Reynolds OBE, chief executive, Castle Water, in a key Transformation Address session: