ENGIE enters local authority energy white label market with Cheshire West and Chester Council’s ‘Qwest Energy’

24th September 2018

ENGIE, the leading energy and services Group, has signed its first energy white label contract with a local authority to supply householders across the north-west of England. In the new offer launched on 24th September 2018, residents in the Cheshire West and Chester region will benefit from a new local energy platform called Qwest Energy.

The new proposition sees ENGIE become the first private sector business to partner with a local authority to launch into the local energy company market for four years - after a series of council-only owned initiatives. Qwest Energy has been developed through Qwest Services; Cheshire West and Chester Council’s joint venture company, set up in 2015, to provide expertise in facilities management, customer services, workplace solutions and digital transformation across the region.

Qwest Energy aims to help local residents save money on their energy bills, with a specific focus on reaching out to disengaged and vulnerable customers. For every new customer, Qwest Energy will provide a contribution to a Qwest Energy Community Fund which based on customer projections, could generate in excess of £600,000 over the next 5 years for use on local projects, including actions to reduce fuel poverty.

The new platform will leverage ENGIE’s existing infrastructure, which is already serving over 75,000 home energy customers across the UK. All investment required for the set-up and on-going operation of the new initiative has been provided directly by ENGIE, ensuring the venture is financially risk free for both Cheshire West and Chester Council and local residents. 

ENGIE will provide trading arrangements, energy supply, and back-office services including dedicated UK-based customer services, whilst Qwest Services and the Council will work together with ENGIE to market the offer to residents using their local knowledge and key communication channels.

Tariffs available will include a discounted ‘Local Saver’, tailored to prepay customers and parts of the community identified as those most at risk from fuel poverty, as well as long-term fixed and green tariffs. All Qwest Energy customers will automatically benefit from ENGIE’s 100% renewable electricity as standard and 'Rollover Promise', which with no exit fee automatically switches customers to the lowest equivalent product at the end of a fixed term - not onto a traditionally more expensive Standard Variable Tariff (SVT). ENGIE was also named second in the most recent home energy customer service rankings by Citizen’s Advice (Q1 2018).

Paul Roberts, Managing Director of ENGIE’s home energy business said:

“For our first local energy launch we are delighted to be providing our services to Cheshire West and Chester and to be providing a unique range of propositions tailored to the specific requirements of the area - backed by our desire to make a difference for those most in need. We see this venture as a long-term partnership for the benefit of residents across the whole region.”

Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive at Cheshire West and Chester Council commented:

“Qwest Energy will support thousands of residents, the community and the environment for years to come. Not only does it offer an affordable option for residents, but the Community Fund will help tackle important issues like fuel poverty.”

ENGIE’s involvement in Qwest Energy is aligned with its strategy of combining energy and services for customers and reinforces its belief that energy is increasingly becoming more embedded in homes and places. ENGIE launched its home energy business in 2017 to complement its existing activities for places and communities. It currently works across over 400 UK communities, including the Cheshire West and Chester region and neighbouring Cheshire East.

Paul Roberts continued: "When we launched our home energy business our aim was to disrupt the market with a focus on customer experience, the connected home and improving lives of wider communities. Aside from the high levels of customer service, Qwest Energy will provide local residents with a platform which we believe will in the future enable them to access a range of new technologies and services for their homes including batteries, PV and electric vehicle infrastructure – all helping them to embrace the UK’s transition to low carbon economy.”