Six Australian families are on a mission to change the electricity industry – for a brighter future for their children and ours. Starting with New South Wales and southeast Queensland, a good choice for electricity would be 100% Australian owned and operated Bright Spark Power. The Natural Parent Magazine chat to four of the team, Arran, Alan, Ed and Lauren, about leading the charge for a better, cleaner energy future, their drive to make change through their business, how they balance work and family time, and their hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
It all started at a weekend BBQ in late 2016. Co-founder and CEO Arran Coughlan had had enough with his current electricity provider and, quite frankly, needed to vent. “I was receiving terrible service and I couldn’t speak to one person, in Australia, to resolve my issues. I was tired of having these ‘fake discounts’ taken away from me and it dawned on me that all my money was being sent overseas to foreign owners,” Arran said.
Over a few beers at the BBQ, Arran voiced his frustrations to his mates – only to find that they too were facing similar issues. The conversation moved on to living in a time of changing climate and what impact that it will have on our families lives in the coming decades. They all saw the need for an Australian-based, Australian-owned electricity provider that puts the power back in Aussies’ hands and does something truly real to contribute to climate change issues.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Setting up an electricity company isn’t an easy exercise. But five mates undertook the massive task, and after 3 years of working through regulation and setting up systems, on May 5, 2020, Bright Spark Power was born.
Ed, Co-founder and CFO, said “Part of what we wanted to do was de-mystify how it all works. We had a long growth curve between founding the business and starting to sell electricity. How electricity is bought and sold, how solar feeds into the grid – we want to make sure it’s not a secret. These things should be open and up for discussion – and question. Do they operate as well as they should? We should be able to understand them and talk about them and change them for the better.”
Lauren was the sixth team member brought on just after launching. Her job is to communicate the brand’s difference and bring to life the original idea of a simple, clear, transparent electricity offer that’s trying to make a genuine difference. “I’ve known Arran for over 20 years and I knew I wanted to be involved. It’s no easy task competing with the ‘big guys’. But the rewards come when people talk to us, see what we are trying to do and come on board.”
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Bright Spark Power didn’t want to be like any other energy company, so they couldn’t start with any standard set by one that existed. Alan, Co-founder and CTO, is the ‘technical whiz’ and has taken great pleasure in building the company systems from the ground up. He says, “Getting to tackle the frustrations that I faced regularly with utility providers is very satisfying. Confusing looking bills? The number one thing we addressed. Multiple plans with confusing rates? Also fixed – when you see our sign up process, we have just one simple plan so customers only get the best price. Having been on the receiving end of issues, it’s nice to be able to say ‘I can fix that’ and have our customers not deal with those problems.”