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Ambitious plans which could see its workforce increase by at least 50 per cent have been announced by one of East Anglia's fastest growing employers.

SmartestEnergy, which is the UK's largest purchaser and supplier of electricity generated by the independent sector, has already seen Ipswich staff numbers quadruple to 40 in the five years since it set up a base in the town.

It is recruiting a further six staff to its Grafton House offices - next to Ipswich Town’s stadium - and believes staff numbers there could rise to more than 70 in the next three to five years.

The plans were outlined to Ipswich MP Ben Gummer during a visit to the company which purchases renewable electricity generated by many businesses, farmers and communities and also sells energy to large industrial and commercial customers.

SmartestEnergy Chief Executive Robert Groves said he believed that demand for the company’s products and services would continue to grow but he also voiced concerns that sweeping changes to the energy sector planned by the UK Government under Electricity Market Reform could put the expansion plans at risk.

“While we support the Government’s current reform proposals there are aspects we are concerned about. We believe some minor adjustments to the reforms will ensure that independent generators have a ready market for their electricity and stimulate more competition among energy suppliers which will benefit customers,” said Groves.

“As a local employer which has grown rapidly, we were delighted Ben Gummer was able to visit our offices and hear about our company’s progress to date and plans for the future. He was very interested in the valuable work our team here carries out on behalf of hundreds of customers and how the major changes in the energy market may impact on us.”

SmartestEnergy is headquartered in London and chose Ipswich as the base to launch its electricity supply business in 2008. That has now grown to supply more than 500 customers including some of the UK’s largest businesses.

The Ipswich office handles most of the operational side of the business and is also responsible for delivering the company’s award-winning customer service. The first customer to be signed up by the team was Barnardo’s which continues to be supplied by the company.

In 2011, SmartestEnergy relocated its Ipswich office to Grafton House to provide a better working environment for staff and significant room for growth in the years ahead.