Open Utility

Challenging the energy status quo

Open Utility is an innovative start-up that democratises and decarbonises energy. The company is delivering step-by-step changes that will help transform the whole energy sector.

James Johnston

James, CEO and Co-Founder of Open Utility, is driven by a passion for decentralisation and sustainability.


"Nominet Trust believed in us and our mission from a very early stage. Their funding and support were very important in shaping the company we've built today. They helped build our profile and introduce us to key members of their network which accelerated our growth"

James Johnston

The challenge

James Johnston was researching the future of energy when he came to a realisation, that in order to move to a renewable economy we need complete systems change in the electricity industry. He went on to establish Open Utility alongside Andy Kilner and Alice Tyler, with a mission to transform the global energy system.

The aim of the project

The goal was to become the UK’s first online marketplace for renewable energy, making it possible for individuals to buy energy directly from small-scale renewable producers and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Nominet Trust funded the project during its early stages in 2014. In 2015 Open Utility launched its flagship Piclo® peer-to-peer energy marketplace for UK businesses alongside partner Good Energy. A six month trial allowed people to buy and sell renewable energy directly, paving the way for a more dynamic and decentralised electricity market.

In 2017 Open Utility took Piclo international, expanding the service to Italy and the Netherlands. The team secured further funding from BEIS Energy Entrepreneurs Fund to develop local flexibility trading, enabling distribution network operators to save £100’s of millions each year on unnecessary network reinforcement.

Positive outcomes

The company has been named by Bloomberg as one of the UK’s top 50 Business Innovators, won Startup of the Year at European Utility Week, and was named on the 2014 NT100 list of organisations using technology for good.

Open Utility demonstrates a step-change in the energy market. It strengthens local economies, benefits consumers and reduces carbon footprint, alongside the potential to unlock vast savings for network operators that can be passed onto consumers, and enable renewables to connect to the grid.

To find out more about Open Utility watch the short film showing their pitch presentations

Further Resources

To find out more about Open Utility visit their website.

https://www.openutility.com