POWER couple Karin Sode and David Pike are “ready to go” as they seek to lure Big Six customers to their newly launched energy firm.

The East Lothian pair raised almost £500,000 for their venture through crowdfunding, with the last monies gathered just four weeks ago after more than 2,000 people agreed to back them.

Now People’s Energy – billed as an “alternative, ethical, customer-owned” provider – has begun trading.

More than 4,500 people have registered, including the donors who signed up to the crowdfunder.

Now the Musselburgh-based firm will try to lure other bill payers away from the major players that dominate the market.

The company – which aims to serve 1 million households with electricity and gas by 2024 – promises to return 75 per cent of annual profits to customers in an annual rebate, with clients also given a share of the business and voting rights to determine its direction.

Shares, which cannot be sold on, are given out after three years of custom and are retained as long as membership continues.

People’s Energy has also pledged to reveal details of accounts, salaries and wholesale energy costs in order to help those who “have lost trust in energy suppliers”.

The couple say the result is the first “completely transparent and customer-focused UK energy company in the UK.”

All electricity will be generated from renewable sources.

Declaring “we are open for business”, the company urged supporters to sign up to help it “become a force to be reckoned with”.

Sode, an ex-management consultant, said: “We offer customers a genuine opportunity to shape the direction of the company, and unlike others in our industry the customer will be at the heart of everything we do – in actions, not just words. That’s why we offer transparency and share the profits.”

The 47-year-old continued: “We believe that people have the right to be treated with respect, as owners of their own energy and of the company. We are seeing people recommending this approach to others, and the pre-registrations have been rolling in.

“We have big plans and are excited to be offering something very different to the market.”

Pike, 53, a former consultant to EDF and Scottish Power, added: “We want to create not just a different kind of energy company, but an entirely different approach to services that put people squarely at the centre.”

He went on: “Energy belongs to no-one, we all need this resource, and all should benefit from it, not just a few greedy shareholders. We’ve had a fantastic response from customers and industry players pre-launch, and now that we have the foundations in place we’re ready to go.”