AN ENERGY supplier says it will hire 100 people in the Borders in the coming months.

People’s Energy is taking over the former OVO Energy offices in Selkirk's Ettrick Riverside building at Dunsdale Road.

People’s Energy co-founder David Pike says the Borders has a "lot of talented people trained in the [energy] sector".

Local MP John Lamont hailed the news as “very welcome”, nodding to the number of workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Pike, 56, said the new roles will include – but not be limited to – call centre positions.

He said: "We will obviously help the local economy and we'll be able to continue the tradition of energy sector work.

"We have customers who vote on local representatives to sit on advisory boards – we want to include people in our management.

"People's Energy is a community initiative business, for the people, by the people."

In May, OVO Energy revealed that nearly 400 jobs would be lost at its Selkirk site.

In response to the People's Energy announcement, Mr Lamont, of the Conservatives, said: "This is very welcome news that comes amid a spate of job losses in the Borders.

"I am delighted that People’s Energy are able to tap into the energy expertise in Selkirk left behind from previous employers in the town.

“It would be a shame if this industry knowledge had been lost.

"This is a vote of confidence in the area and I hope that People’s Energy will have many successful years here."

People’s Energy hopes to use the next 18 months to establish itself and build its workforce, but the company is also hoping to eventually grow further.

Mr Pike said: "I see no reason not to expand – we've got the space.

"We're growing rapidly. This last month we've grown by 28,000 customers – 180,000 overall.

"We also want to address fuel poverty.

"We want our prepaid tariff to be as close to our direct debit tariff as people with prepaid tariffs are potentially more likely to be in fuel poverty."

South of Scotland Enterprise chairman Russel Griggs was present at People’s Energy’s launch at Ettrick Riverside.

Professor Griggs said: “People’s Energy’s expansion into Selkirk and the potential of new jobs is fantastic news for the community.

“The Borders has a fantastic reputation for high quality customer service and expertise in the energy sector and I see this as a much-needed boost for Selkirk, and the wider south of Scotland economy.”

Christine Grahame MSP – who represents Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale – said she “heartily welcomes” the plans.

She said: “The creation of 100 jobs would be good news at any time but even more so now during the pandemic and accompanying economic crisis.”

The company also plans to reward customers through its profit share scheme, which aims to give customers back 75 per cent of profits as a rebate – either a bill reduction or account credit.

However, as a new company, People’s Energy requires stability before making good on this, according to Mr Pike.