Making things easier since 2011

Monday 8 June 2015, by alexromera, Elena Gimeno, Marcelo Penna

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

Holaluz.com is the first online electricity enterprise in Spain. It was created in 2011 by three engineering entrepreneurs, Carlota Pi, Ferran Nogué and Oriol Vila, and it is formed by a team of thirty employees. It is not a large firm, but it is capable of providing an electrical service for an average 8% lower cost in comparison with the rest of the electrical companies, which the majority are giants. This saving is basically possible thanks to a cheaper and more efficient online system, the non-existent defaulter collective and the lack of an expensive internal company hierarchy full of senior executives and advisers.
This firm is an example of an inspiring business for us, on the one hand, because it is an initiative raised in a quite hostile market with high barriers of entry and large firms established which formed an historical oligopolistic market. Therefore, it implies a low power of customers and a continued abuse from these companies with respect to the electricity rates, confusing information shared through invoices, tough permanencies or a deficient customer service.
On the other hand, Holaluz.com offers an exemplary transparency and customer service towards their clients through its core values in order to break with the standard convention of the sector and rethink the business in a fair and an innovative way.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Since the birth of this company, it has been able to address several ethical issues because of its business model design around its eight core values. In fact, these can be summarized in the following statements:
-  A transparent and a fair firm, these are possible because Holaluz.com provides a lot of information about the understanding of their invoices available in their corporate website. All concepts (functioning, taxes, rates or sector information, within others) are explained in detail and, if you have more doubts, you can openly ask them through the website or whatever social network in which the company has its own profile, such as Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. In addition, they do not use robots to meet clients on the phone and try to solve their requests. This firm provides an excellent customer service (including discounts information) and they also have developed an app to easily send the meter reading of households monthly.

-  Better employees’ integration. It contributes to a better integration to its employees in the sense that some of them are allowed to do remote work from their homes. Therefore, it enables the collaboration of disabled people and persons who need a life balance because they have some family responsibilities.

-  100% renewable energy. The energy which they commercialize is 100% renewable. This is certified since the year 2013, when the company got its first certification with the 100% Renewable Origin Guarantee issued by the CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia). Holaluz.com has several representatives in some production plants of renewable energies and they only buy the quantity which is made under these conditions in the wholesaler energy market (OMIE), ensuring the 100% renewable origin.

-  No permanencies, because one of its principles consists in letting customers be completely free of choosing whatever company they prefer in the moment they want.

-  Pre-invoice. The pre-invoice is only a notification that comes five days before the end of the month and shows to the client the estimation or the real monthly consumption, depending if the firm has the real data provided by the owner of the Spanish energy meter system (Endesa) or it is an estimation provided by Holaluz.com. This company makes estimates because the information of the energy meter system is provided every two months, whereas this company has a monthly invoicing. Thus, the client has to send the real data through the company app in order to receive the corrected invoice and cash charge from Holaluz.com before the end of the month.

-  Control of expenses. The monthly invoicing system has the objective of facilitating the households’ control of expenses, i.e. 12 months, 12 invoices. That is why they have to make an estimate for the half of the year and thanks to the pre-invoice and the app to send the real data, it can be easily corrected.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

In our opinion, the main fact that we considered for believing that Holaluz.com is really ethical is their transparency. An incredible level of transparency is reflected in every step of their business.
-  Firstly, they say that all of the energy that sells is completely green. But this is not all. They also offer a method through which you verify that the energy that you are buying is absolutely green.
-  Secondly, they promote that if you use its service, you only will pay the right price for the energy that you require. But this is not a marketing slogan; it is a fact because they offer a tool that you can use for measuring the energy that you have already consumed. Moreover, they send you the receipt some days before the payment to verify that is the correct amount.
-  Thirdly, they are much opened to listen to their customers and improve the service. But if clients want to break their contracts, they are completely free for leaving the service in any moment without any kind of penalization.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

Holaluz.com is a company which is similar to a small fish in a sea full of sharks. Their objectives have strong moral values and ethical purposes, especially when fighting against big companies who have been controlling the energy system of Spain for such a long time and which have strong connections with political leaders, arranging law implementations and system changes.
First of all a company such as Holaluz.com must draw his way out of this kind of oligopolistic system without finding itself in the same field where the old big companies use to work. It needs to move and attain its goals through clients and customer’s rights instead of using political connections. It would be a better movement rather than using old techniques and would show its support to a more human, democratic kind of business, where customer’s needs are beyond the company’s connections and benefits. That is where the basic principle of the company must lie: customer’s rights and their image and response to them, and the only way to maintain the company ethics is to rely always on this idea.
Another idea that has been controversial among other “ethical electrical companies”, is the origin of their product, and the trustfulness of the company’s principle of using only renewable energy, which can have a short offer sometimes and dark origins: that would be purchasing it from the competing big companies, or selling an idea that can’t be true, related to the capacity of producing renewable energy. An example can be found in Belgium, where in 1991 the cooperative Ecopower was created in order to invest in renewable energy through their shareholders with a very limited margin of profit, creating and providing renewable energy to the Belgium’s electricity network. After their calculus, they will only be capable of providing 100% renewable energy by 2050. That could be later in Spain due to the restrictions and tight policies regarding renewable energies in our country.
Holaluz.com must then acknowledge their customers with the reality of the actual production of renewable electricity and what must come from other sources that could be in conflict with their values. It is not a real ethical problem, as they can’t consume what does not exist, but selling the idea of a 100% clean energy could be wrong.
Therefore, fighting against oligopoly, growing without turning into a big corporative company and a non-stop customer service growth without forgetting the importance of the origin of their service should be the main challenges Holaluz.com must face in the coming years.
The main improvements should focus on their national expanding, the acquisition of more clients and more importantly, deceived customers from big companies that could be interested in a company such as Holaluz.com, but as their marketing is really reduced, it is complicated to find them among the so-controlled market. Amplifying their marketing and scope could be the perfect improvement to start being a problem for the old corporations monopolizing the electrical market of Spain.









Location: Barcelona (Spain)

Sector: Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

Official website: http://www.holaluz.com

Key figures:

Country of operation: Spain
Number of employees: 30
Online system only
100% renewable energy
No permanencies
Invoice transparency

Nbr. visits: 724