A SCOTS couple are so fed up with the Big Six energy firms’ approach to customers that they want consumers across Britain to “chip in” and help start a new, transparent energy company.

Having already raised more than £18,000 from an initial crowdfunding drive – which shot past its original £10,000 target – David Pike and Karin Sode, of Gullane, East Lothian, are seeking £450,000 to get the company up and running by this spring.

The latest campaign has the backing of business people, including Peter Lederer, the former chairman of Gleneagles Hotel and tourism body Visit Scotland.

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The couple said 75 per cent of profits made by the company Our Energy would be returned to customers, who will also own shares in it, in the form of dividends.

Mr Pike claims consumers are sick of being “exploited” by the so-called Big Six and no longer trust them.

Our Energy will share salary information and prices with customers, who will be able to vote on major decisions within the company.

Mr Pike, who previously worked with EDF and ScottishPower, said the big energy companies “won’t change their tactics any time soon”.

Customers are hostile to companies because wholesale price changes are often not passed on, bills are complex and difficult to understand, and large profits are made that go into the pockets of faceless shareholders, he argues.

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Meanwhile, low tariffs are used to lure customers in the hope they will forget to switch when the standard tariff resumes.

A recent Ofgem survey found 43 per cent of customers do not trust their energy supplier.

“That is shocking – it is in the region of 10 million accounts,” Mr Pike said. “Like most UK energy consumers, Karin and I have had bad experiences when dealing with the big energy firms.

“People in the UK have quite rightly lost trust in their energy suppliers. Why should we all pay higher prices just to line a shareholder’s pocket?

“Our customers will enjoy the profits and, after three years, will own the company. They will never have to switch supplier again, as they’ll own the company and have complete trust in its practices.”

Mr Pike said customers will receive share ownership of the business within three years, which they can keep as long as they remain a customer, and he aims to have the company owned solely by customers within seven years. “I’ll give my share away and won’t charge anything for it,” he said.

Ms Sode added: “Energy comes from natural resources that should belong to us all, not private entities. We are passionate about returning ownership of this natural resource to consumers.

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“We don’t want private shareholders we need to answer to: our customers will be our shareholders.”

With a much bigger target this time, Mr Pike is confident of securing the £450,000 needed to make the company operational.

Crowdfunding will also mean the firm has a ready-made customer base, saving customer recruitment costs.. But the company’s future is already in public hands, he said: “If the public don’t want this, it won’t happen.”