Non-profit energy supplier launches
A new energy supply company has been launched which aims to cut millions of pounds from bills in some of Scotland's most disadvantaged communities.
Our Power Energy is the first in the UK to operate on a non-profit distribution basis.
It has been founded by 35 organisations including some of Scotland's largest housing associations.
It plans to be selling heat and power to tenants in 200,000 homes across Scotland by 2020.
The consortium expects to save its members up to 10% on their household utility bills, compared with standard commercial tariffs.
It will enter the market at the end of 2015 as an Ofgem-licensed supplier of gas and electricity.
The company will initially buy gas and electricity in the wholesale market and says it will be able to sell it to tenants cheaper than the typical Big Six providers.
Over the next five years, this could see up to £11m of savings for households in some of the most disadvantaged communities across the country.
Our Power is backed by £2.5m from the Scottish government and another £1m from Social Investment Scotland.
Scottish Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: "Fuel poverty is at its highest level in a decade with fuel prices having risen by an inflation-busting 7% between 2012 and 2013.
"A recent investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that millions of energy customers are paying too much for their energy bills.
"That is why the Scottish government has invested £2.5m in Our Power. It will be the first independent and fully-licensed energy supply company registered as a non-profit distributing organisation owned by its members.
"This ground-breaking company will make a real difference to tens of thousands of low income households who are currently disadvantaged in the energy market and struggling to pay their bills."
Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: "Fuel poverty is a major issue for many households throughout Scotland. However, by removing profit from the equation, Our Power offers a new way of tackling this problem."
In the future, Our Power hopes to develop renewable energy projects as part of its business, for the benefit of local communities.