People’s Energy, a firm founded three years ago by husband-and-wife team David Pike and Karin Sode, is opening a new office at Ettrick Riverside in a bid to partially fill the gap left by the closure of rival firm Ovo Energy’s base there in May.
It isn’t known how many of the 400 staff employed there are being made redundant and how many are being kept on as home-workers, but Ovo did confirm that it was looking to lay off about 2,600 workers nationwide.
Those left out of work are now being offered a chance to remain in the same line of business and the same location as People’s Energy looks to fill the shoes of Ovo and, before it, Spark Energy, though, and that’s a development being welcomed by South of Scotland Enterprise, also based, in part, at the Dunsdale Road office block.
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Russel Griggs, chairman of the new enterprise agency, said: “People’s Energy’s expansion into Selkirk and the potential of new jobs is fantastic news for the community.
“The Borders has a fantastic reputation for high-quality customer service and expertise in the energy sector, and I see this as a much-needed boost for Selkirk and the wider south of Scotland economy.
“As we start to move through the routemap out of the Covid-19 crisis, the creation of job opportunities for local people will be an invaluable contribution in rebuilding our communities and businesses.
“I’d like to offer a personal welcome to People’s Energy, and we look forward to working closely within the coming months and years.”
Explaining her firm’s decision to add a Borders office to the two it already runs at Wester Shawfair, near Danderhall in Midlothian, and Musselburgh in East Lothian, Ms Sode said: “The Borders is an ideal place for us to expand to as there is a lot of skill and talent available in the area.
“These include people with energy experience, but there are also other individuals with contact centre experience outside the energy industry.
“We are aware of a couple of call centres closing and are hoping to offer employment to some of the local people who have lost their livelihoods as a result.
“And the Borders is a lovely place and not too far from our offices in Shawfair and Musselburgh.
“This will allow us not only to expand where there are people available for jobs, but also to build a team that can get together and feel part of a wider whole when we are able to move more freely again.
“All in all, we see this as a fantastic opportunity.’
Mr Pike, chief executive officer of the company, added: “We’re really excited about opening a new office in Selkirk as the next step in our journey towards eradicating fuel poverty in the UK.
“The region has a highly-talented workforce, and we look forward to creating around 100 new jobs over the next 18 months.
“We’re especially pleased to be creating local employment during the current health and economic crisis when so many jobs are being lost.
“From small beginnings three years ago, we’re now a rapidly-growing gas and electricity supplier with a purpose, serving 180,000 customers across the UK.
“Looking to expand our operations, we were thrilled to be offered high-quality business space in Selkirk in addition to our existing offices in Shawfair, near Edinburgh, and Musselburgh.
“People’s Energy is a social enterprise with the welfare of our communities at the heart of everything we do.
“We’re the only community interest company energy supplier in the UK, dedicated to ending fuel poverty, rather than profiteering.
“We’re green and ethical and always put people and the planet first.
“We’re looking forward to working in partnership with South of Scotland Enterprise to support the local economy.
“We’ll deliver secure employment for a minimum of 100 people initially, and we expect to create more jobs in the future, and we’re looking forward to welcoming new customers in the Borders who share our vision for a better, fairer world.”
Scottish Government rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing has also welcomed People’s Energy’s bid to fill the gap left in Selkirk by Ovo’s withdrawal, saying: “The Scottish Government is committed to attracting new businesses to the region and developing the south of Scotland’s economy to its full potential.
“I am delighted that People’s Energy has chosen Selkirk as the base for its new offices, bringing new employment opportunities to the area and helping to regenerate the local economy.”
People’s Energy provides gas and 100% renewable electricity to UK domestic and small and medium-sized commercial customers, aiming to return 75% of its profits to its members.
More information about the new jobs available can be found at peoplesenergy.co.uk/about/work-with-us
People’s Energy currently employs more than 200 staff, and its opening of a third office in Selkirk is expected to increase that payroll by half again within the next year and a half.