NEWSNEWS AND UPDATES
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NEWSNEWS AND UPDATES
The latest updates, stories, ideas and guides from the Rebel team.
It’s tough times for the energy market right now, but here at Rebel we’re keeping the proverbial fires burning thanks to another successful funding round with our amazing team of investors.
That means we can spend the winter focusing on what matters – building a sustainable, profitable business capable of weathering whatever storm the markets bring. We’ll be perfecting our automation, our tech systems and customer platforms to ensure we’re in the best possible shape for launch. And that will be the real test, because the quicker we can scale-up, the quicker we can begin the real work of helping the fuel-poor.
Let’s face it, this winter is going to be really tough for those who are hard-up. With prices spiralling out of control, it’s not just energy suppliers struggling to stay afloat – the 1 in 10 UK households living in fuel poverty will experience rising debts, which means families cutting corners and children going hungry. With increasing the pressure to self-disconnect, we’ll see more respiratory illnesses and cold-weather deaths, particularly among the elderly who are most at risk.
We think there’s never been a more important time to be a Rebel, and supporting an ethical supplier like ours means being part of a movement for change. We believe that change is worth it and we hope you do too.
Sign-up for our waiting list now to stay abreast of our plans for launch. When we kick-off in the new year, you’ll be the first to know. For any questions in the meantime, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you.
For every unit of green energy that’s put on the grid, a REGO certificate is issued with it. These authenticate that the energy comes from a renewable source.
Sounds fine. But REGOs have problems.
The most glaring is that the REGO and its unit of energy can be separated. So a company can buy the certificate without buying the energy. This is greenwashing at its most flagrant — taking brown energy from the grid, and using a now-meaningless REGO to claim it as green.
We buy the REGO and the energy that comes with it — so every unit of electricity we sell is matched with a unit of 100% renewable energy.
But this has its problems too. We could argue that buying REGOs is increasing the country’s demand for green energy and incentivises generators. But we’re not going to do that. Because we’re not putting anything new onto the grid with a REGO— we’re just using what’s already there.
To create a better energy future, we need to get new energy onto the grid. And REGOs won’t get us there.
That’s why we’re forming relationships (these agreements are called power purchase agreements or PPAs) with renewable energy generators in the UK – ethical, community-minded producers whose business models we can get behind.
At the end of our first year of trading, a big chunk of our energy will come from these generators (we’re working on an exact commitment). This will make our electricity fully traceable to the UK farm where it was produced, and help to grow the market for renewable power. All of which contributes to the long-term goal: turning every electron on the grid green.
Then the real work starts. Equipping our customers with the means to generate their own energy.
We’re building a better energy supplier. Actually, it’s more than that: we’re redesigning the energy supplier from the ground up – for this unique and transformative moment in time.
That takes work. And we need feedback on that work. So we’re looking for beta testers – an exclusive group of early customers to join us while we make sure everything runs smoothly. During this period, we’ll be testing our systems and checking all is in place.
Here are the basics of beta-testing with us
And here are the essentials
We get into more detail below, but if you already know you want to come on this journey, get a quote now.
We’re automating back-end processes so our people can focus 100% on delivering what matters: great customer service, clean energy, real affordability, and helping those who need it.
The automation is built. The processes are mapped out. The only thing missing is input from real people, using our website and web portal as normal. Once our robots (or ‘Rebelots’, if you will) get used to how our customers use the system, we’re confident it will be the best in the business.
We’re developing customer experience that’s caring, thorough and easy to use. And we haven’t quite perfected it yet.
So until it’s rolled out in all its glory, we’ll have something more basic. In practice, that means things will be a little less slick on the design front. And emails might arrive a little slower than usual. But everything will be 100% personalised and accurate – and there will always be someone at the other end, ready to help.
Building something better
That last paragraph captures the nature of beta testing. Things will be a little slower and plainer to begin with. And there will probably be one or two things that look a bit off. But everything does work. And you get to shape something special: creating a better approach to energy, at a time when we need it the most.
Get a quote to become a beta tester now.
Tomorrow is the 47th World Environment Day (the very first was held in 1974, which tells us that we’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time).
This one is special. It launches the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Spanning 2021 to 2030, this is a global mission to restore and revive billions of hectares of ecosystems. Saving the planet, saving ourselves.
This is essential work: over the last century, we’ve destroyed half of our wetlands. Half of our coral reefs are gone too, and we might well lose 90% of them by 2030 even if we keep the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. We’ve lost uncountable acres of forests, peatbogs, seagrass meadows and mangroves. When those ecosystems go, they take insects, animals, plants and carbon stores with them. And it’s crucial to note that environmental degradation goes hand in hand with growing inequality.
So there’s a lot of work to do: a lot of land and ocean to repair. A lot of nature to heal. And not a lot of time.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is one of the world’s greatest-ever endeavours — this is the chance to take hold of the magnificent world we live in, and save it from destruction. It’s a task that touches every inch of our earth, from the darkest reaches of the sea, to our busy cities and the tops of our mountains.
We might feel overwhelmed by the scale of all this. But the fundamental truth is that change comes from holistic, sustainably-run, locally-empowered projects. And anyway, restoration is good for us. Apart from the bald fact that it gives us a future, it’s also good for our general health and wellbeing (and it actually gives healthy returns on financial investment too).
In other words: we really can make a difference. We just have to do it.
The themes of 2021’s World Environment Day are ‘Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.’ These are about ambition, action, imagination – and they put the era of vague commitments and watered-down plans firmly in the past.
They also have a striking rhyme with our own values of ‘Rebuild, Restore, Renew’. Which makes sense: we share WED’s belief that restoring the planet and social justice are intimately and inextricably linked.
You might ask what we’re doing, apart from supplying 100% renewable electricity.
We set up Rebel Restoration to support brilliant projects that restore ecosystems, remove carbon from the atmosphere and empower local communities. A lot of these are in the UK (we’re particularly keen on restoring peatbogs and planting seagrass meadows), and we also want to plant mangroves overseas.
We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do. We’re sure there will be teething problems and we’ll make mistakes – but we are fully committed to an approach that actually means something. We will do the right thing when there is nobody watching.
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’.
We know that being in nature is good for our mental health. It’s not some great new thing we’ve just discovered – it’s fundamental to who we are. Our health is our planet’s health. Our planet’s health is our health.
Mental health is something we think about at Rebel, in terms of customers and employees (as far as we know, we’re the only energy supplier in the UK that offers each and every employee a paid wellbeing day once a month, to be spent however they wish).
We’re particularly keen to talk about mental health and nature together, as interconnectedness is our favourite topic – the interconnectedness of us and nature, and of our problems and solutions.
So bear with us while we explain what our approach to the carbon market has to do with mental health.
When we started Rebel, we started work on Rebel Restoration. This is our foundation set up to support carbon-removal projects (mostly) in the UK.
You’ll notice we don’t say ‘carbon offsetting’, and that’s because we think the phrase is misleading. We don’t really believe we can just offset carbon emissions from fossil fuels by paying somebody else to plant trees, and think everything will be ok.
But what we can do is back projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, restore biodiversity and empower local communities. While transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and electrification.
The more holistic our approach, the better for our landscapes, and, in the end, for our own wellbeing.
Take one of those projects closest to our hearts: seagrass.
The ocean is good for us. Walking beside it, listening to the waves, swimming in it. Even just seeing the ocean has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. These benefits are so clear that time in wetlands is now being prescribed for people with mental health issues.
So, for our own wellbeing, we need healthy oceans. And healthy oceans are oceans filled with seagrass.
Seagrasses occupy 0.1% of the seafloor, yet are responsible for 11% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean. Seagrass meadows, mangroves and coastal wetlands capture carbon at a rate greater than that of tropical forests.
Planting meadows of seagrass means more biodiversity, thriving native species, more bountiful fishing, engaged local communities, better places to visit.
Or, put simply, healthier oceans equal healthier us.
This is why we like the ‘nature’ theme of Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re trying lots of things in the interest of good health – from those wellbeing days for our employees to a customer approach that’s caring rather than merely transactional.
But at the heart of it is a belief that everything is connected. That when we restore our oceans (and peatbogs, and forests), we restore our own health.
It was Earth Day a couple of weeks ago. We could have posted a picture of a tree and said ‘it’s all of our responsibilities to look after our planet and that’s why we supply 100% renewable electricity’.
But we all know that that’s not good enough.
Green is no good if it’s the preserve of the already well-off. Renewable energy shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be the default. Every piece of toast that pops out of a toaster on a fair British morning should have been cooked by renewable electricity. Every electron on the grid should be generated from UK-based renewable energy sources.
Anything less means we’re not trying hard enough.
Because we have bigger problems: gas and carbon-offsetting.
Our country is plumbed for gas. All of those emissions go into the atmosphere, and we can’t simply subtract them again…it’s not that simple. Don’t believe anyone that tells you it is. The only real solution is not to burn fossil fuels at all.
So, we need to move away from gas and towards heat pumps, electrification and fuel-efficient houses. And we need to do it urgently.
Until we get there, the whole carbon-offsetting conversation needs to change. Because the system that we have right now does not work. This market is so dysfunctional that a major company recently purchased carbon credits (a carbon credit is a certificate that allows you to claim you have removed X tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, you can learn more about it here), and it did this not by planting trees but by *not cutting them down*.
This is a failure on pretty much every level.
But the good news is that there are better, more effective ways of doing it. Like: investing in community-led projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere and restore biodiversity.
That’s why we, as a UK energy supplier, are backing UK carbon-removal projects. We will also back projects overseas where we believe the carbon, biodiversity and social impact merit it, but we will not forget our own fair isles, where 25% of our mammals are at imminent risk of extinction, where we have vast carbon removal potential, and habitat loss on land and in the sea has reached terrifying levels – 97% of our meadows on land, and 92% of our seagrass meadows are gone.
As we think about Earth Day 2021, we know we’re not doing enough yet. But we are working towards that. And we have built our company so we are legally obliged to get better, and better, and better.
On Earth Day, we want to talk about fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty affects 3.18 million households in England and is a hard-to-see social problem that wrecks lives.
Why are we talking about it now? Because one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned over the years is that you can’t be green without being socially conscious. And you can’t be socially conscious without being green.
The truth about the mess we’re in is that it’s all interconnected, all deeply tangled together. And the longer we treat environmental issues as discreet from social issues, the longer we delay fixing them.
Look into any one issue, and you quickly find just how tangled it is with other issues. One big driver of fuel poverty is fuel-inefficient houses – old, drafty buildings require more energy to keep them going. And poorer people tend to live in these houses. So poor people pay more money, and more carbon gets released into the atmosphere.
To solve this issue, we need to make those houses more fuel-efficient (triple-glazing and insulation to start with, and better housing stock further down the line). And we need to make renewable energy accessible to all.
You can see why we use the word ‘holistic’ a lot. These problems can only be understood together.
That’s why we talk about ‘renewing the way business is done’. Because it’s not a viable option to simply donate more profit to charitable causes. No, the whole structure of business needs to change – by putting people and justice at the centre of what we do.
This means being oriented towards results, not intentions.
This means being led by the affected and the marginalised.
This means working together and collaborating for the collective good.
Energy is actually a great metaphor for this. The old way – extractive, centrally-owned, simplistic, offshore – isn’t working. So we’re going the new way – regenerative, local, intersectional, accountable.
Because not only can we address climate change and social issues at the same time. We must do so.
Rebel Energy’s first round of crowdfunding finished with a remarkable 335% overfunding. This huge vote of confidence from the investor community lets us take the strongest possible launch into the market.
We raised more than £500,000 from both small and large donations. Our target was £150,000 – and we reached that within an hour of going public. From then, more and more backers claimed a slice of the rebellion.
The average numbers of investors on Crowdcube is 269. We got nearly 700. As far as we can tell, this is one of the most successful ever pre-revenue raises on the platform.
Why? Well, our mission mattered.
Investor after investor told us that our mission was key. Rebel wants to end fuel poverty, protect the environment and change the way business is done. As far as we’re concerned, our social and environmental missions are the same thing. This resonated.
One investor summed it up nicely when they said “I absolutely love your mission and purpose. It is a brilliant concept”. In the words of another, “Congratulations on your already successful campaign. It is great to see more investment in renewable energy and also a company with a good social conscience”.
But it’s not just the mission. Investors were inspired by our lean and forward-looking business model.
According to our (relatively conservative) estimates, the domestic energy market is set to double in the next 15 years. And Rebel is perfectly designed for this major transition. In fact, we’ve rebuilt the energy supplier from the ground up. Gone are the lumbering IT systems, gone are the unfair pricing structures, gone is the disinterested customer service. Having automated back-end processes, our business is now leaner than our competitors at every stage of growth.
Not to mention the extraordinary quality of our team, which was noted by one investor, who said, “It’s an impressive proposition and the leaders and non-exec look impressive”.
Now that we’ve raised the money. What’s next?
Right now, we’re reaching out to 750 early customers to be our beta testers. This lets us test our systems and make sure everything works smoothly.
Before our full market launch in the summer, we’ll continue to develop our industry-leading automation. Plus, our smart new website will come out (which will include a few firsts for the energy market).
There’s a lot to be excited about. Or as one investor summed it up: “What a model for the future.”
Rebel Energy is a Certified Pending B Corp (and we aim to become fully certified later this year).
Frankly, we were never going to be anything else.
There’s a simple reason for that: we think B Corps are the future, and it turns out a lot of investors share that view.
A quick rundown on why:
A B Corp — or Benefit Corporation — is legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on all of its stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, local communities). Doing good is literally built into the legal structure of the business.
B Corps are at the vanguard of stakeholder capitalism, a badly needed alternative to the existing model of shareholder capitalism.
There are now over 500 B Corps in the UK – a remarkable number, considering the certification was only introduced here in 2015. Look through a list of these companies, and you’ll immediately see that these are businesses at the cutting edge: industry leaders, innovators and firms that will be successful long into the future.
B Corps have a lot of advantages over their more traditional competitors.
One, they attract talent. People who want to make a difference in their industries are drawn to B Corps. That’s partly how a start-up energy company like ours has been able to recruit some of the best minds in the energy industry.
Two, they attract customers. Millennials and Gen Z together amount for the biggest slice of the consumer market in the UK, and this demographic demands better from businesses. 62% prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and 68% of those are willing to pay more for it.
But it’s not just the younger population. Across the country, more and more people of all age groups are spending their money with mission-driven businesses. The pandemic has heightened this urgency. B Corps are businesses that people can trust.
Three, they attract investors. B Corps tend to be both innovative and resilient. Often remarkably so. After the 2008 recession, B Corps were 63% more likely to survive. That’s a stunning figure. And in the UK, these companies have reported average revenue growth of 14% year-on-year since launch.
We’re proud to be a part of this remarkable community of businesses. All of us pursuing what shouldn’t be such a radical idea: long-term success, for everybody.