Energy companies reviewed: Small energy companies Co-operative Energy
Co-operative Energy is part of the Midcounties Co-operative. This is the UK’s third largest co-operative, established in 2010, which now has more than 504,000 members.
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.
Co-operative Energy customer score
Co-operative Energy came 20th out of 22 energy companies rated by 8,902 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey - the biggest of its kind.
I have been a customer for six months and despite many contacts I have not yet had a bill of any kind. I am not able to submit readings.
Co-operative Energy customer
To calculate the customer score, we ask customers how satisfied they are with the company and if they would recommend Co-operative Energy to a friend.
The table below shows the breakdown of its score from the survey carried out in October 2015, which included the responses from 158 Co-operative Energy customers.
Find out how Co-operative Energy compares with other energy companies - click to see the results of the best and worst energy companies.
|Co-operative Energy survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Dealing with complaints|
|Helping you to save energy|
Which? verdict on Co-operative Energy
The Co-operative Energy aims to be transparent and focus on its customers and long-term social sustainability.
Customers can become Midcounties Co-operative members for £1 and receive a share in its profits. Co-operative Energy was also the first energy supplier to get a Fair Tax Mark accreditation for its responsible tax.
Throughout last year, however, the customer satisfaction rating of this company plummeted. This was due to a software bungle that began in March and left customers without access to their accounts and with incorrect meter readings. As a result, Co-operative Energy received only one star from its customers on how it dealt with their complaints, making it the only energy company to get a one-star rating in this year's customer satisfaction survey.
As one customer says: 'As has been reported, chaos reigns. I had great difficulty registering online and then logging on. Billing is incomprehensible. I am paying £20 per month less than my previous supplier; I hope I don't pay for it later'.
Pros: Competitive prices, ethical, share of profits for its members
Cons: Its customer score dropped dramatically this year
Co-operative Energy fuel mix
Where Co-operative Energy gets its fuel from:
- 36.6% Coal
- 34.24% Natural Gas
- 13.43% Nuclear
- 9.77% Renewables
- 5.96% Other
(Note: This information was correct January 2016.)
Co-operative Energy in the news
In 2015, we received many complaints about Co-operative Energy. These included stories about lengthy telephone waits, problems with receiving billing information, passwords not being recognised, difficulty providing online meter readings, and emails being ignored. Co-operative Energy 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, Co-operative Energy twice announced decreases to its prices. 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.