Derby City Council has become the latest local authority to enter the energy business.
Ram Energy has been launched in partnership with Nottingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy and will be available to local residents with a Midlands postcode.
In a statement, the council said any profit generated by Ram Energy will be used to ‘keep prices down’ and will be aimed at domestic customers who rarely or never switch suppliers.
The ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers have come in for fierce criticism recently over large energy price rises, with calls from various politicians to cap increases.
The latest figures from Energy UK, which represents the sector, show nearly half a million customers switched supplier in August alone.
The local authority estimates around one in six people living in Derby are now living in fuel poverty.
There will be a special introductory offer for all new customers within the first three months, with discounts for credit accounts managed online.
Ram Energy will also be available to pay-as-you-go customers, who the council said have been ‘traditionally been poorly served by the energy market’.
These pay-as-you-go customers will have new smart meters installed, enabling them to top up online and by phone, as well as via the traditional key card route.
The council has also put staff in place to help residents who are nervous about switching energy suppliers.
Frontline staff working for Derby Direct, Derby Homes and Healthy Housing have also been briefed on offering advice and support.
Ram Energy is one of the council administration’s 50 pledges to achieve its vision for Derby as a safe, strong and ambitious city.
The launch of Ram Energy has also been backed by some of Derby’s largest employers, including Rolls Royce, Bambardier and Toyota UK, who have all agreed to promote it to their staff.
‘Ram Energy is a local brand for the people of Derby, offering security and reassurance about value for money,’ said council leader, Cllr Ranjit Banwait.
‘It is not about making big profits or paying shareholders, as is the case with the big energy supplier.
‘This will make a meaningful contribution to the quality of life in our city.’