Shopping For Energy Providers Made Easy by Dutch Startup Vandebron

These days, it seems like everything can be tailored to us. For instance, you can have your pug's face printed on your shower curtain, or pictures of your best friend printed on your socks. As more people prefer to have products, services, and goods tailored to their specific needs, wants, diets, convictions and preferences, companies are creating ways that customers can decide where and how they receive services and the energy sector is no exception.

The Dutch startup Vandebron has found a way to tailor energy suppliers to their customers. The company's founder, Aart van Veller wanted to find a way to keep energy production local by expanding the market for local energy producers. Labeled the AirBnB for green power, Vandebron works by matching consumers with green energy producers, like farmers who dedicate some land use to wind turbines. These producers supply energy for the consumers; so far over 100,000 customers have signed up with the company, raising almost €2 million (approximately $2.37 million). Suppliers receive fair prices and are able to better invest in green energy resources.

Current energy sources offered by Vandebron include solar power, wind power, hydropower, and bio-energy (for example, energy derived from food and garden waste at the Orgaworld Lelystad plant). All energy providers offer green energy choices for clients to choose from so instead of feeling stuck with a particular energy provider or energy source, customers can shop around for the best price and their preferred method of energy supply.

Their mission goes beyond giving the consumer better choice and ultimate control over their energy providers and reinvents what it means to be an energy company because they don't make a profit from selling energy. The consumer and producer will receive a fair price, have access to an open market and over 100 energy sources are now available through the company. They were recently named both the best energy supplier in the Netherlands and one of the greenest energy suppliers in the Netherlands by the Consumer's Association.

If you opt for Vandebron as an energy supplier, your money will go directly to a local, clean energy source. That way your choice really makes a difference. So you determine whether you are helping an energy source to invest more in renewable energy or whether you are helping an energy company to make more profit.

So, how does it work? The consumer contacts Vandebron, who then arranges the connection with the supplier. The company makes money through a fixed monthly fee charged to the supplier that covers the management of the energy processes, customer service, attracting customers and operating the online platform. The companies of course profit from the amount of energy used by consumers, which is charged from the moment the energy is actually used so consumers are not overcharged. Vandebron earns a fixed delivery cost of less than €7 per month, which includes VAT and doesn't change throughout the life of the contract.

The rates on Vandebron's site include all costs so customers are always aware of how much they'll owe (assuming the figures they entered of their energy consumption are correct). The power ordered by the consumer is sourced from the supplier to a shared grid so no direct connection between the consumer and the power source needs to be made. This ensures that their power is never interrupted if the power supply fails and that the consumer can change to a new power source any time they want. The power grids used are existing power grids so no new infrastructure needs to be installed.

If customers are interested in trying green energy suppliers, they can sign up on Vandebron's site and try their services for two weeks; they can change their mind at any time during this trial period. In the age of custom products and services, it's nice to see that everything from homewares to energy can be tailored to users, what's more, users who are interested in investing in clean energy sources and local suppliers are now finding it easier than ever to do so with, Vandebron's services.

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