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Spotlight on... Matt Bunney, Fuel Procurement Manager

Chris Roper, Spotlight

20th December 2016

Today, I'm talking to Matt Bunney, Fuel Procurement Manager and cricket fan, about securing enough renewable energy for our growing customer base...

Hi Matt. Why did you join Octopus?

I was working for Co-op Energy for about 10 years, but had got to the point where I fancied a change. A contact of mine put me in touch with Stuart, the Head of Finance at Octopus. I had a lot of industry experience and they were interested in me getting involved.

I had a fascinating chat with both Stuart and the founder, Greg. Their enthusiasm and vision for energy that’s much more aligned with renewable generation really attracted me. I forced myself to think about the role over the weekend, but I knew I was going to take it.

What do you do at Octopus?

My main role is procuring all the gas and electricity our customers use. As part of the Octopus Group, we work closely with Octopus Investments, who own lots of renewable generation sites, and I make sure we have enough renewable energy for all our customers.

This means I spend a lot of time forecasting how many customers we’ll have, how much energy they’ll use, and how sunny it’s going to be. I’m always exploring new renewable sites to ensure we’ve the capacity to supply our green customers, and to give our non-green customers a decent chunk of renewable energy, too.

I’m also responsible for choosing our offsetting projects, which are really important to us. Not only do these charitable initiatives reduce carbon output, either by protecting rainforest or planting trees, but they create jobs and education programs for local communities. We’d love to offer biogas to our customers, but it’s very expensive in its current form. We prefer to give our customers an affordable green tariff that offsets CO² in a socially sustainable way.

Another aspect of my job is working on large commercial deals, such as the one for Arsenal. Convincing Arsenal that they’d get a better price and service from us, a relatively small and new supplier, rather than one of our bigger counterparts, was a challenging but rewarding achievement.

How is our approach to renewable energy different to other suppliers?

About 20% of the standard fuel mix is renewable. You can also buy renewable energy from the market in what’s called a REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) certificate. What this means is that, theoretically, a supplier could market that 20% as part of their green credentials; or, they could simply buy the REGOs  – all without any extra investment or effort.

But we are absolutely authentic in our claims. We get green energy from sites we directly contract with, which are owned and run by Octopus Group. Our solar and anaerobic digestion sites produce energy exclusively for our customers, and we get the REGOs to prove it (without buying them from the market).

Every day, we review how many customers we have, and I make sure we’ve got enough renewable energy by contracting more sites. As we grow, we’ll need more renewable generation, so we’re starting to review sites that haven’t even been built yet. Ultimately, each new customer on our green tariffs adds to the demand for renewable development, so they really make a difference to how quickly the UK moves to renewable energy.

Are you working on anything specific at the moment?

We’re really focussing on forecasting outputs, and using meteorological data to help project what’s going to happen with the weather.

What is the best thing about your job?

Definitely our customers – we have some really passionate people joining us and I’m really proud that we’ve an authentic green product that is also one of the cheapest on the market.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

Keeping up with our customers. We’ve so many people joining and we want to make sure they’re happy and that we’ve enough renewable energy for their needs. We have to plan ahead to make sure we’re delivering the product our customers signed up to.

Any message for those thinking of switching?

Do it! You won’t regret it. And you’ll not just get affordable, greener energy, but you’ll support the development of renewables in the UK.

Any message for those who’ve already switched?

Please get in touch if you have any ideas on how we can improve. We’re a flexible company and you’d be surprised by how easily we can make changes.

Hey! Just so you know, your device is fully charged and you're still charging it. Removing the charger will avoid degrading your battery 😊

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