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World first: UK energy supplier starts accepting a local currency

Bristol pounds are now an acceptable way to pay under Good Energy

Bristol is home to a population of 434,500 — and has £B750,000 in circulation

Bristol is home to a population of 434,500 — and has £B750,000 in circulation

Bristol’s very own city-wide currency, the Bristol Pound, has exceeded expectations and is now accepted in around 800 shops and businesses. Residents of Bristol are even able to pay for council tax and buses using this form of currency, of which there is now an estimated £750,000 worth in circulation.

The purpose of having this Bristol-centric alternative to pounds sterling is to keep money within the local economy, benefitting smaller shops and businesses and continuing the development of the city.

The £B has the same value as the pound, but simply ensures it cannot be used outside of the city.

Using Bristol Pounds for your energy bill

Good Energy are the latest business to start accepting Bristol Pounds (£B) as payment. You can now pay for your energy bill in £B — even those who aren’t a resident of Bristol can join in!

This is a world first for the energy supplier, as no other energy company lists a local currency as an accepted form of payment.

Good Energy CEO and founder Juliet Davenport explained the decision:

“We believe the future of energy is homegrown, sustainable generation which benefits communities and the planet.

“We’re incredibly excited to be leading the way by inviting our customers in Bristol to support green energy and their local economy at the same time.”

Good Energy’s ties to the South West

As an independent supplier based in Wiltshire, Good Energy provides 100% renewable energy to its customers, generated from around 750 producers of wind, solar, hydro and wave energy around the UK. Much of the green energy generated is done so within the South West.

In Bristol alone, the supplier boasts around 4,000 customers, making their latest move to accept Bristol Pounds a clearer decision, and not just a PR stunt for the chance to be pioneering.

the Bristol Pound is the first local currency of its kind to have electronic accounts managed by a regulated financial institution. Consumers can pay registered shops and businesses using text, or their online account, (or of course paper notes) — making paying your monthly energy bill genuinely feasible with this online capability.

Bristol Pound CIC CEO and Director, Ciaran Mundy, believes the decision by Good Energy is commendable:

“We think this sets the precedent for other utility companies to follow suit – Good Energy are showing us it’s possible for an organisation supplying electricity generated from clean, local sources to use a currency which helps the rest of the economy go green.”

The Bristol Pound scheme is run as a not-for-profit partnership between the Bristol Pound Community Interest Company and Bristol Credit Union.

Read More

Six degrees of energy news — renewables

Meet the small suppliers — Good Energy

  • kparcell

    Congratulations to Good Energy and to Bristol Pound. SunMoney, described at and, introduced the idea of building strong local economies by accepting local currency for energy over ten years ago, with a focus on a discount when paying with the local currency. The advantage of the discount is not entirely obvious: it creates a powerful demand for both the local currency and for the energy on offer, and it also creates a virtuous cycle as the energy supplier is impelled to spend the local currency back into the community-of-origin (or to pay a penalty if exchanging it for national currency in Bristol); and because of the demand and the recirculation, the local money can fund every type of local development. This makes it a powerful solution for emerging communities, and in a meaningful sense that is what Bristol is – emerging as an actual community through creation of a genuine local marketplace – but even more so for poor communities. The discount is funded by raising the general price, which begins as a very small increase, and each increase incentivises more use of the local currency to take advantage. The result is empowered communities, in every sense of the word.

    Reconomy also introduced future-tax money at the same time, and presented it in 2006 at the International Disaster Reduction Conference. TaxMoney discounts taxes, and is a strong contender now for a parallel currency in Greece. With both SunMoney and TaxMoney the key to proper function is that the issuing authority is the provider and spends it into creation to fund relevant development, then re-spends it or withholds it as necessary to control volume in circulation. Bristol Pound sells its currency into circulation, and as such it isn’t practical to discount taxes or energy because people would just by it to redeem for the discount. But if they offer a discount then the demand will allow them to stop selling it and begin creating it to fund sustainable local development. And the difference between the cost of creating the currency and its face value works to help fund the discount (know as seigniorage). They have the mission – all they need is the will.