I loved my job in the corporate world and I thought I would have been in it forever, I worked for one of the Big 6, looking after business customers and energy consultants in relation to gas and electricity contracts. Then in 2009 when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had to have my appendix out and during the operation they found a tumour. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer – pseudomyxoma peritoni, There was a one in a million chance of getting it they told me, and here I was, nearly six months pregnant, and my world was turned upside down.
I had to wait until I had given birth before they could scan me to see how bad it was. I gave birth to our beautiful baby daughter Olivia in November and had my scan early February – they had to wait for my organs to back to the right place before they could do it!
The consultants told me the tumour had burst. They described it like pollen, spreading around my abdomen which would eventually smother my organs and kill me. Often, by the time they found it, it was too late but because I’d been pregnant the tumour had been disturbed by my organs moving. I was extremely lucky.
The consultants told me the tumour had burst. They described it like pollen, spreading around my abdomen which would eventually smother my organs and kill me.
The procedure to remove it was a 12-hour operation, known as debulking surgery during which they administered a heated chemotherapy directly into the abdomen. I was in hospital for two weeks and I missed the kids so much. My baby, Olivia, wasn’t obviously aware but Luke, our eldest, was 11 at the time and he found it difficult seeing me ill. I couldn’t pick Olivia up for three months and the recovery was hard.
After 10 months I had recovered, was cancer free and ready to go back to work. I returned to the same job but wasn’t particularly happy and in 2016, when they announced a restructure and an opportunity to take redundancy, I decided to grab it. I had worked there for 21 years and felt this was my opportunity to get out of the ‘rat race’ and do my own thing. Having cancer made me realise that working in a corporate world leaving at 5am and not getting home until 8 or 9 pm wasn’t worth it. You only have one life and I didn’t want to miss out on doing things with my family.
I left in December 2016 and set up my own business, Quote4Energy, the following February. My goal is to educate businesses about the energy industry, the way it works and the way that energy consultants and brokers get paid because there is a lack of transparency. Most of the time an energy consultant will say they get paid by the supplier, which technically they do. What they aren’t telling the customer is that their commission is built into their rates prior to them signing their contract – essentially the supplier collects the money from the customer and pays it to the consultant/broker.
Life in the energy industry is difficult right now for customers, suppliers and energy consultants. Prices are the highest I have ever seen them in my 26 years in the industry. In the residential world, suppliers can’t buy the energy for what Ofgem have set the cap at which is why a number of smaller suppliers have gone in to administration. In the business world, customers are seeing increases of over 200% in some cases on their renewals and, for some, this just isn’t sustainable and I fear they’ll go out of business. For me, as an energy broker, trying to help businesses achieve the best possible option has been increasingly difficult and prices have continued to rise. But I will continue on my mission – to make the industry as simple as possible for the customer.
In the meantime, working for myself gives me the ability to manage my work/life balance so much better and I get to spend a lot more time with family which is everything.