The Inspired Energy journey: building a business to meet diverse needs

 

Since its inception back in 2000, Inspired Energy has been working tirelessly to build the most complete utilities management solution available – a solution that can meet the diverse needs of businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. Our growth has been careful and strategic; through acquisition and investment, we’ve become not only one of the largest utilities consultancies in the UK but also the best in the business.

Today, Inspired Energy plc serves more than 2,800 clients. With more than 500 dedicated team members, we have the scale and expertise to help businesses with every aspect of utilities management; from cost control and procurement through to innovative research and renewable generation projects. And our service isn’t just for large industrial and commercial organisations: during our acquisition trail, we have also gained expertise specific to the SME market.

In fact, we now have a utilities solution that stretches across the entire market, including specialist teams for education, healthcare, churches and the public sector; all backed by a unique, best-in-class software platform. It’s been quite a journey. Let’s take a look at how we got here:

Inspired Energy – the first ten years

Our business was founded almost twenty years ago. We had ambitious plans in place from the outset: our aim was to consolidate a fragmented and confusing TPI marketplace and our focus was making utilities management easier and more valuable for the businesses who sought our help. Our determination saw its first significant rewards in 2011 when we became the first and only publicly quoted TPI, following a successful AIM debut in November 2011. We were proud to discover that we were the only business in the North West to achieve successful flotation that year.

Our ‘buy and build’ growth strategy

In April 2012, we began building our business in earnest, with the acquisition of Direct Energy Purchasing. DEP’s sector specialisms included energy procurement services for healthcare and speciality-retail clients. The acquisition provided us with the opportunity to reach new marketplaces. It also increased our average client size, as well as broadening our geographic reach and diversifying our supplier offering. The investment delivered a range of valuable benefits to the clients of both businesses. It received such strong support from our shareholders that we were certain our acquisition journey would continue.

Reaching smaller businesses

In 2013, our new capabilities and larger team enabled us to establish the EnergiSave division of Inspired Energy. EnergiSave was created with the specific needs of SMEs in mind – and the hard work of the EnergiSave team meant that from the very first year of trading, performance of the new division has exceeded all expectations.

To bolster our new EnergiSave service and ensure we were able to offer SMEs the market-leading, comprehensive solution they needed, we invested in the acquisition of KWH Consulting and Simply Business Energy only one year later in 2014. The newly enlarged EnergiSave was able to provide SMEs with more competitive energy contracts from a broader variety of suppliers. Simply Business Energy already had agreements in place with most major suppliers and had also developed a fully automated, operational online quoting platform for SME customers looking to switch their energy supplier. Acquisition of the business and the platform meant we could enhance our group’s offering while also streamlining back office functions throughout the SME division.

New regions and new capabilities

Between 2014 and 2019, we’ve made a further thirteen business acquisitions. Each time, our aim has been to build a business our clients can depend on for every single aspect of their utilities management – one that can offer truly expert advice but is also flexible to their specific needs.

Since our growth journey began, we have strengthened our service offering through the acquisition of the experienced teams of engineers and analysts at Wholesale Power UK and STC Energy. We have also expanded into the Irish marketplace through the acquisition of our Irish counterpart Horizon Energy Group, and we have broadened our capabilities to better serve specialist marketplaces through the acquisition of Flexible Energy Management (public sector), Churchcom (churches) and SquareOne (education and manufacturing). Since then, we’ve also increased our team of procurement experts and added telecoms to the mix through the acquisition of Informed Business Solutions. In 2018, we further enhanced our technical and data management capabilities, carbon reduction expertise, cost auditing competence and overall service-offering with the acquisition of SystemsLink 2000, Energy Cost Management, Inprova Energy and Professional Cost Management Group. Then, in 2019 we invested in water specialist business WaterWatch UK, ensuring a truly rounded utilities offering. Now, whatever the utilities project at hand, we have the scale, the software and the specialist teams to get it right for every business, regardless of sector or size.

The growth trend continues

Our mission to build a total utilities solution for our customers is ongoing. Last year, we secured a 40% stake in Ignite Energy, with a two-year option to acquire the remainder of the business. We believe that Ignite’s specialism in energy efficiency projects and optimisation services will bring significant benefits to our existing customers, particularly those pursuing ambitious carbon reduction goals.

Our energy marketplace is changing at pace and it’s important that Inspired Energy is properly equipped to help businesses navigate new risks and reap any potential rewards. From negotiating best-in-class electricity, gas and water supply contracts to complying with the latest carbon legislation and implementing new on-site energy generation projects, we intend to remain the go-to consultancy and to keep on growing our experienced and expert teams.