George Mountbatten is the 4th Marquess of Milford Haven, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, and a descendant of Catherine the Great. But he is also known as one of the key figures in a consumer revolution which has taken place in the domestic energy market. It emerged at the turn of the millennium, and is still taking hold, as customers wake up to the savings that are available to them on their household bills.
The keys of uSwitch
The movement which George Mountbatten spearheaded was uSwitch.com. The model acted as a catalyst for a fairer, more transparent energy market for UK consumers. It did this by openly advertising the various deals offered by gas and electricity suppliers, allowing customers to weigh them up alongside each other. This came at the same time as the deregulation of the energy market, which meant that UK consumers were now free to switch to a better deal should they choose to do so.
Not only did uSwitch.com make it easier than ever to find the best deal, it is also ignited a price war between suppliers. With customers, able to pit various offers against each other at the click of a mouse, suppliers had more incentive to lower their prices, create special promotions and design tempting deals in a bid to woo prospective customers to sign up. uSwitch.com used clear, simple language which was a world away from the small print issued by suppliers. There was also a ‘no supplier advertising’ policy which made the site transparent and impartial.
With George Mountbatten at the helm, the company developed at a rapid rate from the year 2000 up until its £210 million sale to the US company EW Scripps in 2006. It had been a front runner for gas and electricity customers in the UK, and by that stage there had already been a torrent of similar price comparison sites which sought to profit from the model. Years later, however, uSwitch.com is still very much alive and kicking.
Other businesses where George Mountbatten invested
Following the success of uSwitch.com in the UK, George Moutbatten went on to invest in a myriad of other businesses including EnCazip Turkey – set up to give Turkish energy customers a helping hand in their quest to save themselves money each month. And the way it was set up is all down to the original uSwitch.com model.
When one of the EnCazip Turkey founders was an undergraduate studying in London, he received an unexpectedly high energy bill and realised he could save money through the price comparison site. Then he had the idea of taking the model to Turkey, so promptly messaged the founders of the company through their LinkedIn page.
They replied and a partnership was born. George Mountbatten and his team ensured that the EnCazip Turkey founders had a solid grounding in the energy market before they launched the company in Turkey. That meant allowing them to work within operations in the UK and Brazil, as part of their training process.
Brazil is another country which has seen consumers been offered new choices thanks to the model. In 2014, George Mountbatten launched MoneyGuru, a personal finance website which allowed Brazilian customers to compare their household bills, and potentially switch between suppliers.