Energy companies

Co-operative Energy

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 2 of 21

Co-operative Energy

Co-operative Energy supplies energy nationwide and has no shareholders – members get a share of the profits instead.

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 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.

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. 

"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 customer
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. 
Co-operative Energy survey results
Area of performance Star rating
Customer service
Value for money
Bills (accuracy and clarity)
Dealing with complaints
Helping you to save energy
Customer score 45%

Find out how Co-operative Energy compares with other energy companies - click to see the results of the best and worst energy companies.

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

On 2 September 2016, Co-Operative Energy announced that it would increase its gas and electricity prices by an average of 3% from 1 October 2016. Prices for those on prepayment meters will increase by an average of 6%. Co-Operative Energy said it had previously absorbed increases in wholesale prices and environmental and social obligation costs. A Co-Operative Energy spokesperson said: ‘Unfortunately, this is no longer sustainable and we have reluctantly taken the decision to pass on a small percentage of these costs to our customers.’

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.