Londonderry firm Budget Energy powers turnover to £30m
Customer numbers are now over 60,000
Londonderry power firm Budget Energy has more than doubled its customer numbers and turnover while posting its first profits as it predicts “another successful year ahead”.
And while it’s still a small player in the domestic electricity market, it has increased customers numbers to more than 60,000, according to its latest accounts. Budget Energy also grew its turnover to more than £30m in the year ending June 2014.
That’s up from £13m in 2013.
It also turned a profit of £626,000 - following a loss of more than £1.2m in 2013.
The firm said its strong growth would "not be possible without the continued dedication and enthusiasm" of its staff.
Budget is one of the smaller electricity companies, representing about 5% of the market here, and is Northern Ireland's only independent supplier of retail, pre-paid electricity.
The company said in its accounts that it "continued to implement" the strategy of "providing low-cost electricity" to the consumer market in Northern Ireland.
And as of October last year, Budget Energy said it now boasted more than 60,000 customers - mostly domestic - which "demonstrates continued confidence of the Northern Ireland consumer in our product offering".
The report said that its customer base has grown further in the year to June 30, 2015.
Commenting on the business's overall performance, the report said it has "continued to improve in the first four months of the current financial year".
It said an also "anticipates another successful year ahead".
Boss Eleanor McEvoy founded the company in 2011 and after securing a licence to operate in December 2010, it began supplying electricity in July the following year.
It now supplies both domestic and commercial customers.
The company says it provides "value for money" electricity through competitive pricing and lower overheads.
The burgeoning customer base and figures in the black could be a sign that Northern Ireland's energy market is becoming more competitive, according to economist John Simpson.
"They are still a relatively young company and they are building their customer base," he said.
"The interesting thing is that they are able to attract customers - that's where the real competition is.
"These smaller companies are making inroads into the market. It's relatively small but what strikes me is its ability to increase customer numbers so quickly.
"We have seen that with some of the new arrivals in the gas and electricity market - maybe there is some sign the energy market is becoming more competitive in Northern Ireland."
The energy provider also grew its workforce to 29 in the year. But it is understood the number of staff working for the firm has increased significantly further. Budget Energy joined Northern Ireland's power scene in 2011. It now competes with existing suppliers SSE Electricity, Power NI and Electric Ireland, along with newcomer Open Electric.
Open Electric joined the market this summer, vowing to reward loyal customers with a profit share after it won a competitive electricity supply licence from the Utility Regulator.
But Northern Ireland's electricity market still only boasts five players, compared with more than 80 in Great Britain.