Energy companies reviewed: Small energy companies Co-operative Energy
The Co-operative Energy was established in 2010. It is part of The Midcounties Co-operative – the UK’s third largest co-operative with 430,000 members – but supplies energy nationwide. It has no shareholders – members get a share of the profits instead.
The Co-operative claims to be an ethical provider and to offer simple pricing – made up of a monthly fixed charge and a single unit price for energy used. It ensures its energy is low carbon. It avoids using coal, supports renewable energy and says it aims to ensure the carbon content of its electricity is less than half the national average.
Co-operative Energy customer score
Customers of the Co-operative Energy rated it sixth out of 17 energy companies overall, behind other independent suppliers but ahead of the big household-name energy companies.
The table below shows the breakdown of its score from the survey carried out in October and November 2013, which included the responses of 148 Co-operative Energy customers. Find out how the Co-operative Energy compares with other energy companies in best and worst energy companies.
|Cooperative Energy survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Helping you to save energy|
The Which? energy customer satisfaction survey is the biggest of its kind and asks members of the public to rate how satisfied they are with their energy company and how likely they are to recommend it to a friend.
What do customers say about the Co-operative Energy?
When Which? asked the Co-operative Energy customers what they thought of their supplier in October and November 2013, here are some of the things they told us:
'It is one of the cheapest available for me and I get dividend payments on my bill.'
'It is not the cheapest, but the whole service package is worth paying for, as the customer service is good.'
'Efficient and everything done correctly first time.'
Co-operative Energy in the news
On 18 October 2013, the Co-operative Energy announced it is to increase its gas and electricity prices by an average of 4.5%, applying to new customers from 21 October and to existing customers from January 2014. But on 13 November it said that it would cut that increase by 2% to 2.5% in response to the government indication that it will remove some of the green taxes from energy bills.
And back in 2012, unlike other suppliers, the Co-operative Energy announced decreases to its prices twice. At the beginning of the year it reduced dual-fuel prices by 5% and in December it cut electricity prices by 2%.
The Co-operative Energy won the Which? Big Switch auction in May 2012, when it put forward two market-beating deals. It gained 30,000 customers as a result in the UK’s first collective switch.
The Co-operative Energy was also awarded the Positive Change Award at the Which? Awards 2012.
Co-operative Energy: pros and cons
The Co-operative performed quite well in our energy companies satisfaction survey, scoring four stars in all categories. It also made the headlines by launching two new market-beating deals for consumers in Which?’s Big Switch initiative.
The Co-operative cut its energy prices twice in 2012 and made only a small increase of 2.5% in 2013, much less than the major energy suppliers. Some large suppliers blamed price rises on the cost of government policies.