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Rebel Energy maximises payments visibility to drive a green energy revolution for all

Jake Grave

By Jake GraveApr 20213 min read

Dan Bates is a rebel with a cause: to make the transition to renewable energy consumption accessible to as many people as possible – not just those lucky enough to own a Tesla.

To do that, the former BP executive has founded Rebel Energy, a domestic energy supplier dedicated to providing 100% renewable electricity and lifting people out of fuel poverty in the process. In doing so, he’s also built a company from the ground up to leverage automation and data-driven processes to push the boundaries of operational excellence.

In that way, Rebel Energy can maximise the resources available to dedicate to its mission: delivering energy that cares for customers, the environment and the community.

And we’re delighted that Dan and team have selected GoCardless to create a payments function to help achieve this mission. Together, we’re doing more than lowering the cost of collecting payments and serving customers. We’re developing the payments visibility Rebel Energy needs to drive empathetic and responsive customer journeys, that improve access to renewable energy choices and help customers to build up their financial resilience.

Addressing energy inequality with flexible payments

Consumer preferences are steadily trending towards environmentally and socially sustainable companies, but adopting greener habits is not a luxury that everyone can afford. Electric vehicles, power-efficient appliances and improved home insulation, for example, can all be more expensive than their less sustainable counterparts.

As well as being unfair, this uneven access to greener energy impedes overall progress towards combating climate change, says Dan: “We won't address the climate crisis while sustainable choices are only affordable to the more well off members of society.”

To Dan, that means more than just supplying green energy. It means offering payments options to suit people of all means.

“Inequality has given rise to a digital divide, a health divide, and more. It’s important that we make sure there's not an energy divide as well,” says Dan. “We must ensure that everyone is able to join the energy transition by making it as financially accessible as possible.”

Controlling payments costs and increasing visibility

Rebel Energy is tackling this challenge head on by harnessing digitisation and automation. In this way, it aims to lower its cost to serve through operational excellence and intelligent risk management.

GoCardless helps Rebel Energy achieve this by decreasing the cost of handling payments and improving payments visibility, two critical dimensions for managing recurring payments.

“Operationally, GoCardless offers a series of seamless and automated interactions, starting with onboarding customers and integrating with our systems, all the way through to collection,” said Dan.

“And then the data we get from GoCardless allows us to respond intelligently to key customer events. Everyone needs energy and 99% of people want to pay. But in life, things happen that might make that difficult. So if someone cancels their Direct Debit, we want to react quickly to understand what’s going on with them because we might actually be able to help. The digitisation of the customer payments journey via GoCardless will help us manage those situations, to intervene early and from a position of empathy.”

Rebel Energy has real-time visibility over payment failures with GoCardless, which maps bank debit payment success rates to human, understandable reasons and pushes the information back to them via real time webhooks.

As the partnership develops and its customer base grows, Rebel Energy expects to be able to leverage Success+ from GoCardless which predicts and manages payment failures, and collects on average 76% of payments that initially fail.  This will enable Rebel Energy to pre-empt payment failures and intelligently define the optimum time to collect payments from customers to maximise their propensity to pay and minimise the risk of failed collections.

Features such as this are crucial to enabling Rebel Energy to build a better payment experience for its customers without increasing its own exposure to financial risk.

Dan says: “This has allowed us to extend our social mission beyond providing clean energy and into addressing fuel poverty. We have the visibility to spot when customers are having financial difficulty and the flexibility to offer payment plans that better suit their means, and that will help them build financial resilience over time. That might mean paying weekly, for example.”

Kindred spirits and a partnership for the future of open banking

Dan describes Rebel Energy and GoCardless as kindred spirits. Both companies are creating value by using technology to re-imagine well-established but inefficient processes. This alignment on vision and culture means Dan feels the two are only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible together. 

“We fully expect that, with our focus on automation and with the contribution from GoCardless, we’ll be able to exceed industry benchmarks around cost to serve. Potentially by a factor of three,” said Dan.

“But the even bigger picture is that working with GoCardless gives us a partner at the forefront of the open banking revolution. It’s an emerging space for the energy market. But, with the consent of customers and appropriate privacy protections in place, it’s easy to envision ways in which this will further allow us to leverage data to add value to customers through convenience and smarter financial management.”

“And we’ll be able to do so at a better price point for them, for us, and for the planet.”

GoCardless is used by over 60,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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