Headquarters Warwick, England
Co-operative Energy is a 100% Renewable Energy supplier that was founded in 2010. It is part of the Co-operative group which includes supermarkets, insurance products, banking and utilities.
Co-operative Energy was birthed from the British co-op, ‘Midcounties Co-operative’.
A co-op is an autonomous association of people voluntarily united to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs through a joint and democratically controlled business. As such, the company is technically owned by its members, each of which receiving part of the profits and having the ability to control its operation.
The Midcounties Co-operative began supplying energy in 2010, making their way to a current 1% market share of the energy business. With over 250,000 customers, Co-operative Energy is one of the real contenders facing the Big Six; however, due to a sudden drop in customer service satisfaction, this could soon change.
In terms of customer service Co-operative Energy's performance is average.
CEO Ben Reid stated at a conference when pitching Co-operative Energy, that their way of resolving customer issues was going to be much more transparent and easy than that of the Big Six: because it is a co-op, their customers/members should be much more involved in the moulding of their business, allowing it to provide according to the needs of its consumers.
In 2018 Co-operative Energy came 17 out of 31 energy companies in a Citizen's Advice poll. Generally, they are quite effective dealing with billing. 90% of their customers had an accurate bill in the last year and 98% of customers received their bill on time.
The company has also dealt with switches very well with 91% of switches completed before the 21 day limit. Customers have generally been quite happy with the switching process claiming that it was easy and problem free.
However, this hasn't always been the case and other aspects of the Co-operative's customer service are trailing behind.
Around the beginning of 2015 the company had a lot of problems with customer service. From July - September 2015, Co-operative Energy was the most complained about energy company in the UK per 100,000 customers, and according to The Telegraph, Co-op was identified as the worst UK energy company for billing errors.
A massive 86.8% of the 68 reviewers on Trustpilot gave the lowest possible rating, and in the ‘Which? Survey’, came 20th out of 22 according to the 8,917 reviewers.
Luckily things seem to be looking up for the Co-operative and their rankings have increased slightly since then.
The company has reduced its call waiting time to 1.27 minutes on average and they only had 259 complaints out of 100,000 sent to the ombudsman. However many customers are still very angry about the service they are receiving.
Customers have a variety of complaints from requests for paper billing being ignored to rude customer service agents on the telephone. However, it seems that the biggest problem by far has been customers who have been overcharged or had the price of their direct debits raised considerably without previous warning, leaving them in debt.
Below are the respective reviews given from available websites and the amount of reviewers on each
To sum up, Co-operative Energy certainly have their work cut out for them. It appears that at present, and over the last couple of years, their customer service scores have been extremely poor. If they are to challenge the Big Six and improve their market share, they are certainly going to have to do something about their customer service and their prices, which we will see below.
Prices & Tariffs
Co-operative Energy have a huge amount of tariffs, which can be rather confusing to industry experts, not to mention for the average energy customer.
They offer a number of fixed and variable tariffs, including 100% renewable tariffs. Fixed Green Energy, Green Prepayment, Green Pioneer and Cozy Green Pioneer which all use 100% renewable electricity.
The company also offers special tariffs such as the Mars Renewable Energy tariff which is only for Mars employees and Fuel Good, which is only for Walsall Housing Group residents.
Customers who get the warm home discount can also take advantage of special tariffs which are only available for customers who are eligible for the scheme.
Their 8 main tariffs are as follows:
- Co-op Fixed November 19
- Co-op Fixed Green Energy November 19
- Co-op Green Prepayment
- Co-op Green and Cosy July 2020
- Green Pioneer
- Mars Renewable Energy July 2019
- FuelGood Simplicity Prepayment
- Co-op Safe and Secure
If you are unsure about which tariff might suit your needs, your best option is to give us a call and get a quote with the most up to date information possible.
To illustrate the price change across the 13 price regions on Co-op Energy's tariffs here is the tariff label information (TLI) for one of their tariffs:
|Region||Elec price per kWh||Elec yearly price||Elec TCR||Gas price per kWh||Gas yearly price||Gas TCR||Dual Fuel Yearly|
|North East EN||16.01p||£569.31||18.36p||4.39p||£621.75||4.97p||£1,191.06|
|North West EN||15.63p||£557.53||17.98p||4.12p||£588.00||4.70p||£1,145.53|
|Merseyside & N Wales||18.07p||£633.17||20.42p||4.39p||£621.75||4.97p||£1,254.92|
|South East EN||16.30p||£578.30||18.65p||4.45p||£629.25||5.03p||£1,207.55|
|South West EN||17.42p||£613.02||19.77p||4.39p||£621.75||4.97p||£1,234.77|
If you are a new or existing Co-operative Energy customer, you can login to your online account by clicking the button we have provided below. If you are a new customer to Co-op Energy, you may have to wait a little while until your account is ready for use. You should receive an email that will advise you as to the readiness of your account.
Once you are logged into the online portal with your username and password, you will be able to do the following:
- Manage your bills
- See past usage details
- Submit meter readings
- Update your personal information
Co-operative Energy have an app specifically for prepayment customers called "Co-op Energy Smart Pay." It is for customers who have smart prepayment meters and allows customers to top up their prepayment meters without having to go to a PayPoint. The app also stores your debit and top up card details so you don't have to retype them every time that you want to top up.
The app also sends you a receipt every time you top up so that you can keep track of your expenses.
Co-operative Energy has just begun running a smart meter trial for a proportion of its customers.
The Co-operative are trialling SMETS2 meters and so currently don't have a date for the complete rollout. This may worry some customers who want to have a smart meter installed as soon as possible.
The smart meters which are available at the moment called SMETS1 only work as long as you stay with the supplier who installed them for you. If you move away to another supplier your meter will revert back into a normal meter (or dumb meter) which means that you will have to go back to giving manual meter readings all over again.
In the long run, customers experience more hassle as companies will switch you to SMETS1 meters but then at a later date, you will have to switch again.
By 2020 all customers will have to have a smart meter by law and customers who have SMETS2 meters installed will be prepared for every eventuality.
If you are a Co-op Energy customer and you want to register your interest in a smart meter when they become available you can send them an email or give their customer service team a call.
Co-operative Energy will send you an email to let you know that your statement is ready. Tariffs with paper billing are generally more expensive.
Customers can pay by direct debit, cheque, cash, paypoint, or postal order and the bills can be paid monthly or quarterly. Customers who are on low income can also ask for their bill to be paid by fuel direct.
Customers should try to submit meter readings every month to Co-operative Energy in order to keep their bills as accurate as possible.
You can submit your meter readings through the online portal or by telephone.
Customers who are a member of Midcounties Co-operative can also get extra points for doing their meter readings. They can get 25 points per fuel they have contracted with the Co-op and 50 points for every meter reading that they do.
Customers who are generating their own energy with solar panels can take advantage of Co-operative Energy's Feed-in or FiT tariff.
Feed in tariffs are special tariffs for customers who produce their own energy at home - for example by using solar panels. They can then sell the energy that they don’t use back to the grid, effectively making money on their energy.
Co-operative Energy reminds customers that in the case of Feed-in tariffs its the early bird that gets the worm. It is the early adopters who earn most. In fact, some early adopters of Feed-in tariffs earn ten times more than customers who sign up now.
At Co-operative Energy you can earn 4.25p for every kWh that you generate and 4.91p per kWh for the excess that gets sent to the national grid. These prices are set to increase in line with inflation for the next 20 years.
Warm Home Discount
Co-operative Energy offers the Warm Home Discount for its customers. They provide it for both the core group and the broader group.
Customers who are part of the core group are pensioners and will get the warm home discount automatically without having to do anything.
People on universal credit, people with disabilities and those on low income can apply as part of the broader group. If you are part of one of these groups you will have to apply every year for the discount. There is no guarantee that it will be granted.
One way of making it more likely that you will be given the warm home discount is by making sure you are on your supplier's priority register. This is a special list for customers who are more vulnerable and might need special assistance with things like reading meters.
The Co-operative Energy has a huge focus on renewable energy.
A huge emphasis has been placed on where energy comes from recently, and as such, all energy suppliers throughout the UK are required to submit details about their fuel mix. Co-op Energy are no different.
Despite the above reviews and prices that perhaps are not the best on the market, their energy mix is certainly one of their strongest suits. They are well above the national average for renewable energy supply, which is a massive positive for any supplier.
Co-operative focuses on tackling climate change throughout all of its operations including reducing its carbon footprint. On their website, they claim that all future purchases of energy won't include coal.
They also have a special project called User Chooser where customers can choose the renewables projects that they would like the company to invest in. Until now the Co-operative have funded more than 5000 community energy projects which not only support the local economy but help to make the UK a little greener.
In fact, the company won the European Award for Innovation in Sustainable Energy.
As you can see below, Co-operative Energy's biggest percentage comes from renewables, making up 65.16% of their supply. This is 40.96% higher than the national average, a huge achievement considering their customer base size. Below you can see the entire makeup of Co-op Energy's fuel mix.
Co-op Energy Membership
Because Co-operative Energy is a co-op, the company is run by its members. They state that their members decide the organisation, profit share and investment of the company, which makes it a fully democratic company organisation. Anyone can become a member for just £1, which will return you points, dependent on how much you have spent within the society.
Although they claim to share the 'profits' of their company, this does not mean that you will receive any form of cash dividend. You will, instead receive vouchers and money towards your Co-operative products. These can include:
- Food vouchers for their supermarket chain
- Energy account credit
- Shares through the Midcounties Co-op
- Charity donations through the Midcountines Co-op
It is perhaps a wonder, though, that given their status as a co-op, which would suggest their inclination to help their members, why they have some of the most expensive energy prices in the country. Couple this with their attempt to rival the Big Six, and you have got a pretty problematic strategy.
If you would like to sign up to be a member of the Co-operative, you can click the link below: