Established by the founders of Virgin Mobile, Pure Planet is the UK’s first “app-only” energy supplier and are using innovative technology and an alternative pricing model to offer customers ultra-cheap green energy. Not only do they sell energy at wholesale prices with 0% mark-up, they’ve also ditched call centres in favour of “WattBot” - an app-based chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to assist you via your smartphone.
In our Pure Planet review we look at all the key aspects of this trailblazing supplier, including their customer service, tariffs, pricing and account management, to help you decide if they’re worth switching to.
Pure Planet at a Glance
- Electricity: 100% renewable
- Gas: 0% green gas (100% carbon offset)
- Based: Bath, UK
- Founded: 2016
- Customers: 30,000
- One of the UK's cheapest green suppliers
- Innovative app-based service
- Sells energy at wholesale prices
- No daily standing charge
- No exit fees
Pure Planet Review
Interested in finding out more about this tech-focussed supplier before you switch? In our independent review we give you the lowdown on all things Pure Planet.
1. Customer Service
When it comes to needing help from your supplier’s customer service, you would normally expect to speak to someone in a call centre, or for your query to be dealt with via email. But Pure Planet have flipped this tradition on its head, and instead help the vast majority of their customers entirely through their smartphone app.
Pure Planet have ditched the call centre altogether and do not offer any phone numbers or email addresses whatsoever. Their reasoning for this is that not having a call centre or a large support staff means they can operate with lower costs, and therefore pass on these savings with lower tariff prices.
Instead, customers can use the Pure Planet app to chat with an automated bot called “Wattbot”. Customers simply type in their enquiry and the bot replies with an answer automatically. The idea is that the app’s artificial intelligence should be able to answer most queries, which removes the need for a call centre. For any questions the app can’t help with, customers can request a callback or email from a (human) member of staff to get their issue resolved.
Pure Planet Reviews
This novel approach has been met with a mixed response from Pure Planet reviews online. Whilst some customers have embraced the concept, others have been left frustrated at not being able to speak to someone by phone, and had not realised this would be the case before they switched. Nevertheless, in general customers appear happy with the quality of the app and the support it provides. Others were also pleased with the ease of the signup process, and that they were kept informed by email throughout the switching process.
“Just switched seamlessly from Octopus Energy. App gave a countdown and received various emails along the way with updates, all very straight forward. Highly recommended!”
However others have felt quite the opposite and been left annoyed at the lack of support staff, and frustrated with the app not working as they expected it would. Others appear to have misunderstood the concept of an app-only supplier, and have left angry reviews about the lack of contact details.
“Worst customer service I've EVER experienced. They expect you to talk to the useless wattbott thing on their app which can never ever resolve your query. They don't give a crap about their customers. Stay well away.”
Overall, it’s difficult to comment on customer service when Pure Planet offer very little customer service in the traditional sense. Whether you are happy to rely on an app to solve all your queries comes down to personal preference. For those of us that use our smartphones to manage our daily lives anyway, it shouldn’t be much of an issue, and paying less for energy is probably worth the sacrifice.
2. Tariffs & Prices
Pure Planet have some of the lowest energy prices in the UK. This is because they sell energy at wholesale cost, which is the same cost that all suppliers pay and usually “mark up” with a profit margin to ensure they make money. Pure Planet instead sell energy on for the exact same price they pay for it.
They also don’t charge a daily standing charge - a fixed amount suppliers charge per day regardless of energy usage. So how do they make any profit? Well, instead they make their money by charging a flat monthly membership fee of £8.50 per fuel, per month. They are one of only a handful of suppliers that went with this pricing model, another being Outfox the Market.
To keep things simple, they also only offer the one tariff named the “100% Green” tariff. Our research in November 2018 showed that a family of four living in a three bedroom house in London, with average usage (3,100 kWh electricity and 12,500 kWh gas), would pay just £926 per year on this tariff for both utilities.
In comparison, Bulb quoted £1,109 per year, Bristol Energy came out at £1,187 per year and Tonik quoted £1,124 per year for equal usage at the same address. So at the time of writing, Pure Planet is almost £200 cheaper than most other renewable suppliers.
|Bulb||Bristol Energy||Tonik Energy||Pure Planet|
|Average cost per year for 3 bed house in London||£1,109||£1,187||£1,124||£926|
Prices correct as of November 2018
Customers seem to agree that the prices are extremely competitive with online reviewers claiming huge savings compared to their previous suppliers, and that Pure Planet provided the cheapest quotes on comparison sites.
“I have several friends who have moved across since myself and love the service and cost overall compared to the big six - £600 saving a year - it’s a no brainer!”
So when it comes to pricing, you’re unlikely to find a cheaper renewable supplier than Pure Planet!
3. Bills & Account Management
As mentioned above, to manage their account customers must do everything through the Pure Planet app. Customers receive monthly email statements along with PDF copies showing energy usage and how much they’ve spent. Customers can also check their bills from within the app and in keeping with their 100% digital ethos, they don’t offer paper statements by post.
Submitting meter readings, you guessed it, is also done within the app by simply tapping in the numbers to send them to Pure Planet HQ. The app even comes with a handy torch button if your meter is located in a dark cupboard.
In our experience, customers are generally satisfied with using the app to manage their account, view bills and submit meter readings. Numerous reviewers on websites such as Trustpilot have claimed the app is well designed and simple and offers everything they need.
“The app is really easy to use and makes it so easy to monitor usage and submit readings.”
However, looking at Pure Planet app store reviews, the general opinion is quite the opposite. The Google Play store shows an average rating of just 2.8 out of 5 from 228 reviews (November 2018) and the Apple App store rates the app at 3.2 out of 5, from 104 ratings. These certainly aren’t good ratings for a company that relies entirely on the quality of their app to serve their customers.
Numerous reviewers have stated that the login link often fails to work, and that signing up on the app is difficult, whilst others can’t submit meter readings. Others have complained that the app often displays errors and has a lot of bugs and technical issues.
“This App is rubbish. I'm unable to login, it simply goes round in circles sending me registration emails which fail with 'Invalid Login Link' error message. Not impressed.”
Whilst we feel the app-only account management concept has potential, clearly this only works if the app is well designed, reliable, and easy to use for all users. There may be plenty of happy customers overall, but there are just as many unhappy online reviewers that have experienced too many bugs and problems with the app. So in short, great concept, not-so-great execution.
All things considered, we are fans of Pure Planet and their innovative approach to making energy bills cheaper through the use of technology and alternative pricing models. Their prices are some of the cheapest on the market too which is always a plus. We also feel the app has real potential, once the technical issues are fixed. But until then, we rate Pure Planet four out of five.
About Pure Planet
Next, let's take a look at the company, its ethos, history, and the key people involved.
Mission & Ethos
Pure Planet's mission. Source
Pure Planet were established with the mission of making “a renewably powered Britain” by making renewable energy more affordable and more accessible to British households. To achieve this they decided to sell energy at wholesale cost with zero marµkup. They only make a profit from charging a monthly membership fee. As a result, customers get access to the cheapest possible energy supply and Pure Planet still make a profit.
They are also set up to be entirely digital to reduce running costs, and were the UK’s first app-only supplier. This means no expensive call centre, fewer staff and all customer service handled by artificial intelligence, through the Pure Planet mobile app and the automated chatbot.
They also believe in looking after their staff and running a happy workplace. They not only follow the Living Wage scheme to ensure staff are paid fairly, but also aim to recruit disabled people and those with health conditions to ensure positions are open to everyone. In fact, they were shortlisted for the “Happiest Workplace” award at the Wylde IA Happiest Workplace Competition - an award for companies “that go the extra mile to ensure their staff are cheerful and fulfilled.”
“We’re motivated by a triple bottom line: people, planet, as well as profit.”
Pure Planet App
As an app-only supplier, Pure Planet require customers do everything through their smartphone including: submitting meter readings, managing their account, paying bills and even contacting customer services.
The Pure Planet app uses artificial intelligence and an automated chatbot system called “WattBot”. When customers have a question, they simply type a message on the app and the WattBot artificial intelligence system will reply with a message, hopefully in the same way a member of staff would. If the customer cannot get the answer they need from the bot, they can ask to be contacted by a member of staff by phone or email as a last resort.
Customers use the Pure Planet app to chat with WattBot. Source: Pure Planet
The WattBot system is constantly improving and getting more intelligent over time in order to be able to answer more detailed and complex questions from customers. By having this slick technology answer customer queries, they can function without a traditional call centre and the rent, utility and staff costs that come with it.
Pure Planet was launched in the spring of 2017 by a team of former Virgin Mobile founders including Andrew Ralston, Steven Day, Tom Alexander and Chris Alliott. This tech dream team also set up popular network EE and also previously ran Orange and T-mobile.
Pure Planet's founders. Source
Together, they came up with the idea to launch an affordable renewable energy supplier that uses technology to ensure low price, and partnered with BP to finance the business. BP own 23.7% of Pure Planet and handle the sourcing of renewable energy for their customers.
In 2018, another mobile network expert, Bryn Jones, joined Pure Planet as their chief technology officer to further develop the app and improve the WattBot AI system. In 2018, Pure Planet also reached 30,000 customers, just a year after launching.
Pure Planet's Renewable Energy
Next up, lets take a look at where their energy is sourced from and how much of it is clean and renewable.
Pure Planet supply 100% renewable electricity to all their customers. Their partners BP buy renewable electricity from a range of suppliers on their behalf - made up of a mix of wind power, solar power and hydropower.
Currently, Pure Planet do not publish much information about the energy they purchase when compared to companies such as Bulb, who like to promote the various solar and wind farms they use. Nevertheless they do promote the fact that their energy is certified by the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme - an Ofgem regulated scheme that serves to prove that the energy generated is from renewable sources.
Did you know?
As with all suppliers providing 100% renewable electricity, Pure Planet customers receive the same electricity from the National Grid - a melting pot of electricity sourced from renewable and non-renewable sources. However, for every unit of electricity their customers use, Pure Planet guarantee to generate or buy and put back an equal amount into the grid that was renewably-sourced.
As renewable energy generation and usage increases in the future, the percentage of renewable electricity customers receive from the grid will increase. Therefore Pure Planet and other suppliers are helping to increase the renewable portion of the UK’s electricity.
Pure Planet don’t supply renewable gas in the form of green gas generated from biofuels. However, they do commit to offset the harmful carbon dioxide generated from their customers’ gas usage by buying “CERs”, or Certified Emissions Reduction certificates. CERs are issued by an organisation called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to greenhouse gas projects in developing countries. These projects earn one certificate for each metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO₂) they remove or prevent from entering the earth’s atmosphere. These can then be sold on to companies worldwide who want to use it as a way to offset their own emissions.
Pure Planet's CO₂ savings. Source
Pure Planet buy these certificates to compensate for the emissions that the gas they sell creates. The certificates are uniquely numbered and once bought, then become invalid and cannot be sold on again, since the CO₂ saving has already been made. This money then helps to fund future emission-saving projects which continue to reduce emissions, meaning new certificates are earned and sold, and the cycle continues.
As a result of buying CERs, Pure Planet have prevented over 35,000 tonnes of CO₂ from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Pure Planet Tariffs
Pure Planet offer just the one "100% Green tariff" for both dual-fuel and electricity-only customers. It is one of the cheapest renewable energy tariffs on the market and includes 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon-offset green gas.
Here are Pure Planet's prices for a typical 3 bedroom home in London. This is based on the UK average annual energy usage of 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas.
|100% Green tariff (Electricity)||100% Green tariff (Gas)|
|Type of tariff||Variable||Variable|
|Green gas||-||0% (but 100% carbon offset)|
|No Exit fees|
|No Minimum term|
|Unit rate||11.855p per kWh||3.077p per kWh|
|Membership fee||£8.50 per month||£8.50 per month|
|Monthly cost||£39.12 per month||£40.55 per month|
|Total yearly cost (3 bed house London)||£926.05|
Pure Planet Business Tariffs
Currently, Pure Planet do not offer any business-specific energy tariffs.
Contact Pure Planet
Pure Planet made the decision to be 100% app-based in order to save money on running a call centre and pass savings onto customers. As a result, they don't provide a phone number or email address to contact them.
The only way to contact Pure Planet is to use the in-app chat feature. However, for more specific enquiries the app will forward you to a member of the customer service team. You can also try the Pure Planet community forum to find an answer to your problem.
Pure Planet Contact Number
Pure Planet do not offer a phone number. Download their app to contact them.
Pure Planet Ltd, Northgate House, Upper Borough Walls, Bath, BA1 1RG
Should you Switch to Pure Planet?
If you’re looking to switch to one of the cheapest green suppliers, you’ll struggle to find lower prices than Pure Planet. Plus if the idea of doing everything by app with no humans at hand to solve your queries doesn’t put you off, then Pure Planet could be the ideal supplier for you.
On the other hand, if you value having someone friendly to talk to when you’re stuck, you might want to look at suppliers such as Tonik Energy or OVO Energy who both provide excellent customer service. For more information about switching to Pure Planet, click below to contact us.