Coop is one of the larger independent energy suppliers in the UK, but while other providers like Octopus or Bulb Energy have experienced rapid growth, Coop has hovered at around 1% of the market for several years now. Is it because their prices are scaring off new customers? We’re investigating their tariffs to find out.
Cooperative Energy tariff options
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of their prices, let’s examine what tariffs Coop Energy offers its customers. Like many energy suppliers, Coop has a large array of tariffs that correspond to different payment methods, fuel mixes, whether they’re variable or fixed price, etc.
Below you can see the details of Coop’s current tariff offerings. If you don’t see your current tariff below, it’s probably no longer being offered to new customers.
While other details vary based on which tariff a customer has chosen, all Coop Energy tariffs provide 100% renewably sourced electricity.
Coop Energy offers its customers a variety of both variable and fixed-price tariffs. A variable tariff is one where the cost per unit of gas and electricity varies over time, presumably to reflect changing wholesale costs. They also generally don’t have an end date to the terms of the contract or any exit fees.
Green Pioneer is Coop’s most ‘normal’ variable tariff. It’s available to all customers and provides the Warm Home Discount to customers who qualify. It’s the closest thing that Coop has to a ‘standard’ tariff, and that means it’s quite pricey. But we’ll delve into both of those details in a bit.
Coop Safe and Secure
Coop’s Safe and Secure tariff is not available to all customers. It’s an exclusive tariff that is only available for customers receiving the Warm Home Discount.
One would think that as Warm Home Discount recipients are some of the households most at risk for fuel poverty, this exclusive tariff would have cheaper rates, but you’d be wrong. In fact, without including the discount (only £140 per year) the average household in London would pay nearly the exact amount as the Ofgem price cap.
Coop Fair Price Tracker
The Coop Fair Price Tracker is one of the more unusual tariffs offered by the company, and exists in a bit of a netherworld between being fixed-price and variable. That’s because the price is fixed, but as 5% less than the legal price cap instituted by Ofgem, which can change over time. This type of tracked tariff is a concept in the UK seemingly imported from similar tariffs in other European markets.
It’s interesting that Coop would promote this tariff (it’s featured prominently on their website), at 5% less than the highest price possible is hardly a strong selling point. The cheapest tariffs on the market are more than 30% cheaper than the price cap!
Also, keep in mind that while the ‘Fair price tracker’ tariff may not change as often as other variable tariffs, Ofgem has raised the price cap as recently as April of 2019.
Ending standard tariffs
You’ll notice that none of the tariffs above are labeled as Coop’s ‘standard’ tariff. That’s because Coop doesn’t have one!
If you’re not aware, most energy suppliers have a 'standard tariff'. They generally have high unit prices and when a customer’s cheaper fixed-tariff ends, they’re sneakily defaulted into the much more expensive standard variable tariff. Our energy experts receive a large number of calls from upset customers who are receiving much higher bills without ever being aware that their tariff had ended.
Coop was the first large energy supplier to get rid of their standard tariff, but whether or not their remaining tariffs are actually a better alternative is another matter.
Fixed price tariffs
In addition to their variable tariffs, Coop also has several fixed-price options. Fixed-price tariffs, unlike variable ones, have a set unit price that won’t change for the length of the contract duration.
Be aware that a fixed-price tariff doesn’t mean that you’ll pay a set amount on your bill, as the overall price will still depend on how much gas and electricity you consume during the billing period.
Coop Community Power
Coop Community Power is a fixed tariff that provides ‘100% community generated electricity’. This means that all electricity corresponds to power generated within the Coop network. Even better, if you’d like to switch to Coop from another supplier to this tariff but are facing exit fees, Coop offers to cover them, up to £30 per fuel in the form of credit on your bill.
Like all Coop’s tariffs, its electricity is 100% renewable and it also sports 25% green gas, well above the industry average.
Coop Fixed for Longer
Coop’s Fixed for Longer tariff is another fixed-price option. It is available both for customers looking for dual fuel and electricity only, but not for gas only customers. Customers can pay via direct debit or on receipt of bill. The Warm Home Discount is available to qualifying customers.
Coop Exclusive Fixed
This tariff is the default for customers who are currently on several Coop tariffs with contracts that end in July 2019. Other customers are not able to switch to this tariff. The following tariffs will default to the Exclusive Fixed tariff at the end of their contract:
- Co-op Fixed Green Energy July 19
- Co-op Price Protect July 2019
- MARS renewable energy July 19
- My Co-op Lite Online July 19
- My Co-op Lite Online July 19 v2
- My Co-op Lite Online July 19 v3
- My Co-op Lite Single Elec July 19 v2
Like the Fixed for Longer tariff, Exclusive Fixed is available for both dual fuel and electricity customers, can be paid via direct debit or on receipt of bill and offers the Warm Home Discount to households that qualify for the programme.
As of this article, Coop Energy does not offer business energy services to customers. While this makes sense given the coop nature of the company, it’s still disappointing that they are not able to provide scalable energy solutions for even small business enterprises.
Exit fees are an unfortunate fact of life in the UK energy industry, and are what keep many customers feeling trapped with unsatisfactory tariffs. Unfortunately, Coop Energy does have exit fees (or termination fees according to the company) for their fixed-price tariffs. At £30 per fuel they’re on the more expensive end to boot.
That being said, if you’ve contracted or been defaulted to a variable tariff with the energy supplier, you will not have to face a fee to switch. Additionally, you won’t face a fee if you’re moving house or if you’re in the last 49 days of your contract with Coop. Or at least, you shouldn’t.
Exit fees at end of contract
Recently Coop has been enveloped in somewhat of a scandal with their exit fees. Why is that? Ofgem caught the supplier charging exit fees to customers who were nearing the end of their contract, with less than 49 days left on the terms of their tariffs!
As we noted above, suppliers should not be able to charge exit fees at the end of your contract, and it’s actually illegal to do so!
Coop Energy prices
Now that we’ve gotten a taste of the different types of tariffs the company offers and their exit fees, let’s delve into the main course: Coop Energy’s prices!
The chart below shows the rates and daily charges of Coop’s Green Pioneer variable tariff for a three bedroom flat in London. We’ve also calculated the annual cost based on the national average rate of gas and electricity use in the UK.
|Utility||Unit rate per kWh||Standing charge per kWh|
|Average annual spend: £1,340.53|
*all prices include VAT at 5%
Compared to the market
If our annual spend calculation seems high to you, your powers of perception are on point. At £1,340.53, the annual spend is actually more than £80 above the legal price cap set by Ofgem!
How is that possible? Ofgem’s cap does not apply to green energy tariffs, letting suppliers charge more for renewable energy. This is frankly a confounding policy from the regulator, as nowadays the cost of producing energy from renewable sources is comparable to that of using fossil fuels.
Selectra price score
Given that the supplier actually exceeds Ofgem’s price cap, it shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that Coop Energy didn’t fare too well on our Selectra price score. In fact, in the price category the supplier received 1/5 stars, our lowest rating.
Coop Energy: prices - ★
Is a Coop Energy tariff right for you?
While Coop Energy hasn’t shone particularly brightly in the price category, it did receive better marks in our other categories and does have some redeeming qualities which you can see on our full profile of Coop Energy. If you are dead set on being in a consumer coop and don’t mind paying a hefty premium for renewable energy, Coop Energy may be the perfect energy supplier for your home.
If you’re part of the vast majority of people who just want good service and green energy for a reasonable price, we recommend seeking out a different energy supplier. We guarantee you can do better.