Innovative, Melbourne-based company Amber Electric has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, as it aims to grow its customer base and expand across the eastern coast. The enterprise aims to bring transparency to the market, passing wholesale prices directly to consumers on top of a flat $10 a month fee.
Unlike big retailers and industrial users which are buying power at wholesale prices that are set every 30 minutes based on supply and demand, households do not have this option. Cutting out the traditional middlemen, Amber is working to enable customers to use electricity at cheaper times when renewables are generating power and pass on negative costs as well.
The company launched in New South Wales and South Australia last year and is now seeking to grow its business with the help of fresh capital. The seed round was led by venture capital fund Square Peg with a $2 million investment, followed by investments from Black Sheep Capital and Impact Investment Group. The remainder came from other investors, including CEO of FutureSuper Simon Sheikh and Chair of Beyond Zero Emissions Eytan Lenko.
Bigger savings for solar households
The company encourages people to reduce their power during times of high prices and make some easy money, but even if they do not Amber should still save them $50-100 per month. According to Amber, early customers in NSW have seen big savings from moving to this model – some have reduced their electricity bill by over 30% or over $1000 a year.
When customers have solar+storage installed the upside is significant. For these customers, Amber pays out wholesale prices for anything they export, so they get the same price for their electricity that a big generator would get for the energy it produces. In an earlier interview with pv magazine, Amber Electric Founder and CEO Chris Thompson spoke about the earnings Amber customers made on the back of wholesale electricity price spikes seen during heatwaves in January.
By giving customers access to wholesale prices through its smart systems and tools, Amber is encouraging them to reduce demand and set their electricity loads, such as washing machines and pool pumps, for cheaper times. As protection during wholesale electricity price spikes, Amber applies a cap of 40c/kWh for monthly average prices, so those who need to use power are not overly exposed.