Energy disruptor granted electricity supply licence by regulator

Mo Hajhashem and Somayeh Taheri

Urban Chain, the Manchester-based energy market disruptor, has been granted an electricity supply licence by watchdog, Ofgem.

The company, backed by leading European investment group Eurazeo, described the news as a major milestone in its journey.

Founders Somayeh Taheri and Mo Hajhashem have long sought a supply licence. They said the granting of ‘Electricity Supply Licence for non-domestic premises to UC Energy Ltd’ will enable the company to offer “a superior quality array of products” to its customers while “ensuring a higher level of control for its generator clients”.

Mo, UrbanChain COO, said: “Since our inception UrbanChain has enjoyed many pivotal moments. Obtaining our electricity supply licence from Ofgem ranks extremely high as you have to pass a very rigorous due diligence process. It’s a major turning point for us and a new era in our business.

“More importantly this next step in our journey will help secure an even stronger service for UrbanChain’s energy demand customers.”

He added: “It will also enable us to step up our ability to offer customers a real traceable choice of energy and advance UrbanChain’s plans for granular ESG tracking.”

UrbanChain’s deeptech peer-to-peer energy exchange platform uses integrated smart contracts and machine learning to match generators of renewable energy and consumers on a half hourly basis – resulting in secure energy prices and secure physical flows for energy generators.

Local government organisations, companies from across the private sector, generators of renewable energy, energy suppliers and domestic households all trade within the regulated platform.

Following the supply licence being granted, UrbanChain Portfolio Optimisation Director, Garry Pickering, described the positive implications that it will have on the company’s generator clients: “With UrbanChain now an official energy supplier it ensures we have full control of our peer-to-peer matching process which enables greater security for generators of renewable energy.

“But it doesn’t stop there. We will have clearer transparency on data flows and it will allow us to roll-out a new suite of products, ensuring generators have true choice in where their generation goes.”

This month UrbanChain, which has a headcount of 30, revealed that it is gearing up for a Series B funding round push towards the end of 2024.

It follows last year’s successful Series A funding round led by Eurazeo, which has €33.5bn in diversified assets under management.

Somayeh Taheri, UrbanChain CEO, said: “We started UrbanChain with a mission to alleviate fuel poverty and to fix a broken inefficient energy market model.

“Our social responsibility values haven’t wavered and we see ourselves as more than a platform or an energy exchange, our role is to create communities.

“Having the supply licence will only strengthen our mission which is to make renewables mainstream.”