Energy > Our Reviews

Places for People Energy Review

Fred Isaac

Fred Isaac
Apr 25, 2017


Places for People Energy has a name that sounds like a political party’s slogan.

It promises that it’s not like other energy companies and, in one sense, it’s right: it is hard to think of another supplier with fingers in so many pies.

COULD PLACES FOR PEOPLE BE THE PLACE FOR YOU?

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Places for People Energy is part of the Places for People family, which manages over 140,000 homes 113 leisure centres across the UK.

Launched in October 2015, the North West based company is not for dividend, meaning they don’t have shareholders and reinvest profits in social causes.

Projects include helping young people get onto the property ladder, creating parks for communities, providing shelter to those in need and helping the unemployed find work.

It’s worth bearing this, as well as price, in mind when weighing up whether to switch to Places for People.

Places for People aims to save you money by keeping things simple – it is certainly cheaper than the big six. Continue reading our Places for People Energy review to find out more.

To find if it really could save you cash, compare energy suppliers online. 

 

Green credentials

As with many new suppliers, it’s very difficult to tell.

Ofgem requires all companies to publish a Fuel Mix once they have been trading for 12 months.

Places for People say: “We aim to strike the best balance between low prices and reducing carbon emissions over time.”

Its Fuel Mix is due in September 2017 (pushed back from Autumn 2016), so we won’t know for good how green its energy is until then.

It’s worth noting that the company is committed to investing in green spaces for communities.

Watch this space.

 

Places for People tariffs

The tariffs available from Places for People are very, very straightforward.

There are currently only two: a fixed-price plan and a variable plan.

Places for People insists this makes it easier for consumers to compare plans and make an informed decision.

Together:

This is the company’s cheapest tariff – it came in Which?’s top five energy deals for December 2015.

Prices are fixed prices until the end of your deal, but there is a £30 early exit fee per fuel.

Fair, Simple, Clear:

This is the more expensive, variable option – prices go up and down depending on market rates.

There’s no exit fees, so you can switch whenever you like. 

One downside is that Places for People don't currently take customers looking to switch from a prepayment meter

See how Places for People's tariffs stack up by comparing energy deals online

 

Online offering

Places for People reviews it's costs and insists any savings it makes are passed on to customers.

Top Tip: So if you manage your account online, you can save £40 a year.

The website is clearly laid out and looks like it has been designed by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

We particularly like the guides in the help and support section.

They talk customers through switching to Places for People, moving home, billing, payments and meter readings – all in plain, simple English.  

The My Account section lets customers to view bills, manage payments, contact customer service and make meter readings.

All pretty box standard, but we like the simple layout.

FIND OUT WHAT PLACES FOR PEOPLE CAN OFFER YOU

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Places for People customer service

So how good is Places for People’s customer service?

Well, between October and December, it received just two complaints on average per 1,000 customers, or 536 complaints in total. 

That's a tiny number but remember, Places for People is still in its infancy. In other words, the jury's still out on Places for People.

We need a bigger sample, of course, to compare it against its rivals, but the early signs are encouraging. 

Customer service is UK-based – a big plus (ask any BT customer) – and can be contacted by email, or on the phone on 01276 418200.

Payments (23%), billing (16%), online portal (16%), customer service (13%) and metering (13%) were the most common cause of complaints. 

Places for People Energy is also highly reviewed by Which?, which awarded Places for People a customer satisfaction score of 76%, placing it second out of 23 suppliers in the consumer group's annual energy survey.

Places for People scored an impressive 4* for value for money and 5* for accuracy and clarity of bills.

It's worth noting, though, that Which?'s results were based on a survey of just 31 customers.

Still, those 31 loved Places for People!

You can make a complaint about Places for People using A Spokesman Said's free tool.

 

Making a payment to Places for People

The company is big on direct debit.

It has practically no information on alternative payment methods, although we did some digging and seems you can pay by prepayment or on receipt of your bill.  

Pay your bills by direct debit, however, and Places for People will give you a discount of £25 a year per fuel – this is taken off your standing charge.

Payments are reviewed twice a year to make sure you're paying the right amount.

To work out how much you owe, the supplier takes your estimated annual spend and divides it by 12.

CAN YOU SAVE BY SWITCHING TO PLACES FOR PEOPLE?

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Recent news

On the 5 April 2017, Places for People launched a £200m business aiming to tackle the chronic shortage of retirement housing in the UK. 

 

Our Places for People Energy review verdict

There’s a lot to admire in Places for People Energy.

Pros:


* Simple tariffs and fair prices
* Clear and simple bills
* Discounts for direct debit and online accounts
* No shareholders – profits invested in ethical projects
* UK-based customer services team 

Cons:

* Unclear how eco-friendly its fuel is
* Quality of customer service may decrease as the company adds customers