Company unveils major expansion plans

IPSWICH: An electricity supply company has unveiled major expansion plans which is set to lead to the creation of 140 jobs.

Haven Power, which targets small to medium-sized enterprises (SME), plans to take on the extra staff in Ipswich over the next 18 months and double the size of its purpose-built premises at Ransomes Europark, as it prepares to increase its sales to �1billion in three to four years.

The company, set up just four years ago by ex-Eastern Electricity employees Peter Bennell, Stuart Morton and Grahame Hughes, has grown at an extraordinary rate. When it was sold in March last year to power company Drax Group for �11million, it had about 17,000 to 18,000 SME customers and now has about 27,000, including Holland & Barrett’s and Blockbuster’s high street stores.

It currently employs around 300 staff, of which about 220 work at Ipswich, a further 45 at its newly-opened Chelmsford office and the rest are fieldworkers.

Mr Morton and Mr Hughes have just retired, and Mr Bennell has continued with the company as its chief executive.

“We set the business up to serve SMEs with electricity. We saw there was a gap in the market to provide a good quality service to SMEs coupled with competitive prices and that proved to be the case,” said Mr Bennell.

They have already secured a contract with the Muller yoghurt operation in the Midlands, which includes a huge plant and two or three warehouses.

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The firm moved into its current 10,000 sq ft headquarters building in 2007 from temporary offices nearby, having been advised by Ipswich agents EWS Chartered Surveyors. which also acted for the company in connection with its need for additional accommodation.

Plans have just been submitted to Ipswich Borough Council for an extension to the existing building to increase its floorspace to over 20,000 sq ft.

Mr Bennell said: “We will be adding about 140 new jobs. They will be in sales and customer service. They will also be in professional roles like finance and accountancy and forecasting and modelling, and we are very keen to attract local people and hear from local people who might want to work in electricity.”

Ipswich Borough Council’s economic portfolio holder Richard Atkins welcomed the company’s expansion plans.

“Clearly, we are delighted that Haven Power, with its local connection, are showing such confidence in the Ipswich economy and extra jobs are always welcome, especially at this time. This is very good news indeed for the town and is evidence that we are well placed for further recovery,” he said.

n What do you think of the plans by the company? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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