Energy company reviews
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 7 of 34
Co-operative Energy says it provides good value, simplicity and transparency to customers. Plus all its tariffs have 100% renewable electricity.
Co-operative Energy customers are supplied with gas and electricity by Octopus Energy, after it joined the fast-growing brand in September 2019. Octopus Energy has also begun providing its customer service, although Co-operative Energy is still responsible for gaining new customers.
Co-operative Energy is owned by its members who have a say in how it’s run. Previously, members had a say in where it bought its energy. It’s part of The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent co-operative.
Flow Energy became part of the Co-operative in May 2018 and when GB Energy Supply went bust in 2016, Co-operative Energy took on its customers. Neither brand is open to new customers.
The results of our survey date from before Octopus Energy became Co-operative Energy's supply partner . So if you’re thinking of switching, find out what Octopus Energy’s customers think of it.
Co-operative Energy sells only 100% renewable electricity tariffs and is working with Octopus Energy to increase community-generated power in the UK.
Find out if Co-operative Energy’s tariffs are the best for you by comparing gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch, our independent energy comparison website.
Co-operative Energy customer score
Co-operative Energy finished 9th this year, higher up the table than it's been for several years. The survey included 35 energy companies in total, rated by 7,355 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. It shares its position with Bristol Energy, Engie and Ovo Energy.
This year, customers gave it decent ratings across the board and were particularly impressed with the accuracy of its bills.
Co-operative Energy score breakdown
The graphic below shows the breakdown of Co-operative Energy’s score from our survey. Since we conducted the survey, Octopus Energy has begun providing customer service for Co-operative Energy’s customers, so things may have changed.
Scroll down to find out how Co-operative Energy fared in our call-waiting investigation, and what customers think of its bills and digital tools.
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
Co-operative Energy has risen up the table in the past few years, compared with other suppliers. Back in 2017, it finished 20th out of 23 firms included, whereas now it’s in the top 10 of 35 firms.
This indicates that its customers are more satisfied and more likely to recommend it now than they would have previously.
Those who completed our survey ranked its customer service and complaints-handling as good, as well as its value for money.
The accuracy of its bills is Co-operative Energy's highest-rated area. It achieved the maximum five stars for this, although so did 10 other firms included in our survey.
It's considered good value for money by customers, with 81% of respondents offering a score of 'good' or 'excellent'. While this is good, we found that more than 90% of customers of some firms rate them as 'good' or 'excellent' value.
However, customers were less impressed with Co-operative Energy’s digital tools, resulting in its only three-star rating. But only six firms included achieved four stars (several of whom claim to be digitally focused businesses) and none got the maximum five stars.
It answered customers’ calls and emails quickly in our snapshot undercover investigation into energy companies customer waiting times. It took just 1min 20secs, on average, for Co-operative Energy to answer the phone. Flow Energy and GB Energy, part of the same brand, were both slightly faster (in 45secs and 1min 2secs, on average, respectively), while supply partner Octopus took 2mins 14sec, on average.
Co-operative Energy claims that its Community Power tariff is the only one in the UK to be powered by 100% community-generated electricity. It also carbon offsets gas use. It says that it pays communities a fair price for the power they produce and profits go towards local initiatives. It costs around £6 more per month compared with its typical fixed tariff.
Customers can still become Midcounties Co-operative members for £1 if they wish (members receive a share in its profits). You can also earn points from paying bills and submitting meter readings, for example.
Pros: Members get a share of the profits, customers rate bill accuracy highly.
Cons: Digital tools could be improved.
Co-operative Energy electricity sources
Co-operative Energy in the news
December: Customers on standard variable (or out-of-contract) tariffs will see their bills cut by £160 a year, on average, after Octopus Energy announced that it was cutting gas prices. It will take affect on 15 January 2020.
September: Co-operative Energy announced that Octopus Energy would begin supplying gas and electricity to its customers, and providing customer service.
February: Co-operative Energy announced it will raise its prices by 10% on 1 April. This is the date from which Ofgem is permitting energy companies to charge customers more, in line with its increased price cap.
More than 60,000 customers will be affected – only those on Co-operative Energy’s standard variable tariffs. Customers who use a medium amount of energy will pay an extra £117 per year.
July: Co-op Energy confirmed it would raise the price of its Green Pioneer variable tariff by 5% in August, adding £61 per year to dual-fuel customers' bills.
Co-op Energy told us that it has ‘sought to absorb the significant increases in wholesale energy costs this year’, but that this ‘is not sustainable indefinitely’.
May: Co-op Energy acquired Flow Energy and its 130,000 customers. Flow Energy will continue to operate as a separate brand with its own tariffs.