Derry electricity supplier Click Energy plans all-Ireland expansion
ONE of the north's newest electricity suppliers is already planning an assault on the market in the Republic.
Click Energy only launched in October last year and now the man behind the company wants to expand south of the border.
The Derry-based firm is this week marking its first anniversary.
It was one of two new electricity suppliers to launch in the north last autumn bringing the total number of competitors to six.
And the company, has already signed up around 12,500 customers.
Company founder Damian Wilson said seeking to expand the business across Ireland "just makes sense".
Speaking to the Irish News, he said: "We are looking at entering the market in the Republic by the end of next year.
It forms just part of the firm's ambitious growth plans which also include designs on doubling staff numbers - already more than 20 - over the next year.
The firm launched last year during a period which saw the number of electricity suppliers in the north virtually double.
It was one of two new entrants alongside Open Electric while Electric Ireland stepped up its campaign to gain new customers.
SSE Airtricity was the first competitor to Power NI when it launched in the north while Budget Energy set up in 2011.
Mr Wilson who described Click Energy as "an electricity company with our sleeves rolled up" said the firm had been growing at a "steady rate" since bagging its first customer last October.
"We are steady at around 1,000 to 1,200 new customers a month," he said.
"If we keep growing, whether slowly, steady as we are now, or fast, that is good.
"But you can't stand still in this market. You always have to be thinking ahead, making yourself different and planning."
The difference as far as Click is concerned, explained Mr Wilson is: "We offer transparency. You don't get any introductory offers and then find out one day the price has hiked up you are not tied into a contract."
That sort of competition, he said, was "long overdue".
"When we launched, we came in at a price significantly lower than other and within six weeks, everyone had lowered their prices.
"Wholesale prices have been low and continue to be low."
And he said the tactic appeared to be working.
"We've been going a year and in that time we've not had an official complaint. Yes, we've had enquiries but nothing has ever progressed to an official complaint."
Currently, the company has 19 members of staff in addition to a off-site sales team.
But Mr Wilson said the numbers could reach as many as 50 next year.
"At the start, our customer service team was my wife working from 8-8.
"And she's still here but we've expanded.
"If we continue to grow at the rate we are going, the numbers of staff will only rise."
Power NI remains the most popular domestic electricity supplier in the north with more than half-a-million customers according to the most recent publicly available data from the Utility Regulator.
SSE Airtricity is its closest competitor with 200,000 customers at the end of June 2016.
Budget Energy has around 63,000 followed by Electric Ireland with just over 13,000.
The other new entrant Open Electric had just shy of 1,000 by the end of the first quarter, the regulator found.