Energy companies reviewed: Small energy companies Co-operative Energy

co-op energy

Co-operative Energy is part of The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s third largest co-operative, which has 430,000 members and was established in 2010. Co-operative Energy supplies energy nationwide and has no shareholders – members get a share of the profits instead.

Co-operative Energy 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

I like the Co-operative principles

Co-operative Energy customer

The supplier comes 7th out of 18 energy companies rated by 9,404 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey - the biggest of its kind.

The table below shows the breakdown of its score from the survey carried out in September and October 2014, which included the responses of 193 Co-operative Energy customers. Find out how Co-operative Energy compares with other energy companies in best and worst energy companies.

Co-operative Energy survey results
Area of performanceStar rating
Customer service
Value for money
Bills (accuracy and clarity)
Dealing with complaints
Helping you to save energy
Customer score61%
 

Co-operative Energy in the news

In 2015, we received many complaints about Co-operative Energy. These included lengthy telephone waits, problems with receiving billing information, passwords not being recognised, difficulty providing online meter readings and emails being ignored. Co-op apologised and said these were linked to its new customer service system, launched in March 2015, that had some 'teething problems'. 

On 18 October 2013, Co-operative Energy announced it would be increasing 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 to 2.5%, in response to the government's indication that it would 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 2012, Co-operative Energy reduced dual-fuel prices by 5%; and in December it cut electricity prices by 2%.

The Co-operative Energy won the Which? 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.

Which? verdict

This is the largest independent co-operative in the UK, owned by 200,000 customers. Part of The Midcounties Co-operative, its aim is to be transparent and to focus on its customers and long-term sustainability. Some 68% of its electricity comes from renewable sources.

Customers can become Midcounties members for £1 and receive a share in profits. It was the first energy supplier to get a Fair Tax Mark accreditation for its responsible tax.

Pros: Competitive prices, ethical, share of profits for its members

Cons: Its customer score dropped this year

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