What our customers say
Mother of one, Babs MacGregor, switched to Co-operative Energy when the opportunity arose, after signing up for the Big Switch.
45-year-old, Babs, who has not only worked for workers co-operative Green City Wholefoods for the past twelve years, but has lived in a housing co-operative since 2006, felt it made complete sense to obtain her energy from a co-operative too.
Babs explains: “My experience working for a co-operative means I’m familiar with the co-operative business model, and when the opportunity came via the Big Switch to join Co-operative Energy, it meant that my home, work and energy would all be part of a co-operative.”
Warehouse and personnel worker, Babs, who has lived in her two bed flat for three years, found moving from her current provider to Co-operative Energy seamless.
“Joining was a smooth transition. Once I’d entered my details, Co-operative Energy managed the switch, contacting my previous supplier. They did all the backroom work, regularly informing me of how it was going, which is really important as I think a lot of people are put off switching as they think it will involve a lot of time on their part. It was pretty much hassle free,” explained Babs.
Babs, who regularly enjoys walking her dog Rufus, feels there are many benefits to being part of Co-operative Energy.
She explains: “I feel extremely secure with Co-operative Energy‘s business approach. I know that profits aren’t going to be made at the expense of customers, which I feel is the case with other energy suppliers, who are more interested in lining the pockets of shareholders.
“Co-operative Energy customers are more than consumers, they’re also members and being a co-operative means they share profits amongst members not shareholders. There is more transparency too, as they tell you about the profits they make unlike other providers. And they were quick to pass on a recent price decrease, which is great news for customers.”
Concluding Babs said: “I would absolutely recommend Co-operative Energy. People are reluctant to switch supplier as they’ve lost confidence in most energy suppliers. But Co-operative Energy is different and they make it very easy. And if you refer a friend, you receive £25 off your energy bill and so do they.”
Alison Stancliffe, Tyne and Wear
Alison, a freelance outdoor educator from Tyne and Wear, had been considering switching energy providers for some time when she received an email about the Big Switch.
Alison with her husband explains: “I had been thinking about changing energy suppliers for a while. I’d lost faith in my old provider, and with my house being particularly expensive to run from an energy point of view, I knew that it was time for me to look elsewhere.”
The 62-year-old lives in a three and a half storey Victorian terrace in Ryton, a pretty village in Tyneside. The house is very roomy and therefore, in spite of it being draught proofed and fully insulated, still proves somewhat difficult to keep warm. In addition, the house sports a large AGA fire stove, and though it looks very attractive, this only adds to Alison’s struggles to manage her energy costs.
It wasn’t just the opportunity to get a lower price for her energy that persuaded Alison to take part in the Big Switch, however; being a strong believer in the co-operative movement, it was the ethical energy provider’s values that helped to seal the deal.
She explains: “I was thrilled when I found that it was Co-operative Energy that was involved with the Big Switch. I’m a member of my local co-operative, and really buy into their values. I trust them and I think that is crucial – particularly in the current energy environment.”
Although Alison admits that she had some initial worries about the move, switching to Co-operative Energy as part of the Big Switch was actually easier than she could have ever anticipated.
“I was slightly concerned that the switch may have turned out to be a bit of a hassle, but I needn’t have worried. Co-operative Energy sent me a timeline of what I could expect to happen and when, which helped to put my mind at ease. And, of course, everything took place as simply and smoothly as possible.
“My experience with them so far has been really positive, and their decision to freeze prices until at least April of next year confirmed to me that I had made a great decision to move.”
Robert Madeira, Herne Bay, Kent
Insurance broker, Robert Madeira switched to Co-operative Energy after becoming exasperated with the complex and confusing plethora of tariffs offered by his former provider, EDF.
The married, father of two from Herne Bay in Kent chose Co-operative Energy to supply his gas and electricity rather than another of the Big 6 as he liked their honest and simple approach.
He explains: “I was fed-up with both the complexity of tariffs offered by EDF and the constant bombardment of offers and so-called deals. There had also been problems with my bill and I felt that they had become too big and uncaring.”
“I chose to change to Co-operative Energy as I liked their ethos. Their approach is about simplicity and honesty. I particularly like how they don’t promise to be the cheapest supplier and that they have just one, simple tariff. I did consider the other, bigger providers when I switched but they were also very confusing with their complex tariff charts.”
Robert who switched to Co-operative Energy in November 2011 has been so impressed with Co-operative Energy that he’s encouraging his friends and family to switch to them too.
He said: “Co-operative Energy is a market leader, they were the first energy provider to pass on savings to customers and reduce bills in December, ahead of the Big 6 and they’re at the forefront of making things simple. As a customer, you know where you are with them and I’m happy to recommend to my family and friends.”
As a supporter of animal welfare campaigns, fairtrade and the green agenda, 35-year-old Sally Cooke has been a Co-operative shopper for many years and is a big fan of the ethos of the Co-operative.
So when Co-operative Energy launched, she was fast out of the blocks to switch energy supplier for both her gas and electricity use.
She explains: “I didn’t have a particular problem with my previous energy supplier, but I do like the whole thinking of the Co-operative and I really love the idea of all the customers being shareholders instead of a fat cat stuffing money into his pockets.”
So Sally, a member of Stretton Climate Care, and committed to reducing her carbon footprint, describes herself as a ‘jumper-on-rather-than-heating-on’ type of person. She checked her energy bill with Co-operative Energy and found she could be green and save money by switching. “That was the bonus to be honest,” said Sally. “I wanted to switch to Co-operative Energy because I’d be a shareholder and because of their realistic commitment to sourcing greener energy where possible, but the money-saving was the icing on the cake.”
Sally has battled myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME for 19 years and on good days volunteers for her local church giving craft lessons at outreach sessions. But because of her long-term, debilitating illness she needs to be able to turn her heating on when she is less mobile and she also relies on electricity to power her mobility scooter.
“My bill is modest compared to other people but every penny counts. My scooter is my lifeline and I use it to get around town and for shopping. It has to be charged up regularly so my energy bill is something I watch. But I like the idea that my scooter is powered with green energy from the Co-operative.”
Susan Hollick, Swindon, Wiltshire
Susan Hollick, 59, a supermarket worker from Swindon, Wiltshire switched to Co-operative Energy in February 2011 having heard about the service through her colleagues at work.
Susan said: “As I live alone, it’s a little easier for me to manage my energy costs than it would be for a large family; however I’m still keen to make sure I’m getting the best deal. As an employee of the Co-operative food store I heard about Co-operative Energy and decided to find out more about their service and any savings I might be able to make.
“I accessed the Co-operative Energy website and found that I could make a substantial saving by switching. This, combined with the knowledge that I’d receive a percentage of the profits, really appealed to me. Before I made the switch to Co-operative Energy I never really took a good look at my energy bills or the tariff I was on, I just assumed I was paying the standard price for gas and electricity and left it at that. Seeing the amount of money I could save by switching was a real eye opener.
“Once I’d made up my mind, the switch process was completely hassle free and the customer service was second to none – everyone was so friendly and helpful.”
Co-operative Energy is committed to providing its customers with a fair and honest deal, offering a clear pricing structure and single unit price regardless of consumption. Co-operative Energy is also challenging the big profits the energy retailers are making by including a profit sharing deal for all Co-operative Energy customers which pays out twice a year.
Jim Pettipher, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Jim Pettipher, 46, from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire wanted something more from his energy supplier – having become disillusioned with what he described as “ lining the pockets of the more established energy firms. As a Co-operative member, Jim spotted the new service from Co-operative Energy and he decided to investigate further. A self-confessed Co-operative enthusiast, Jim found Co-operative Energy not only matched his ethical viewpoint but that switching would actually save him money.
Jim explains; “I’m a big fan of all things Co-operative, I shop in the local Co-operative food shop and all my insurance is with the company. When I saw that they were branching out into the energy market I was very keen to find out more. Having done my research I found I could make an annual saving by switching to Co-operative Energy as well as benefiting from a share in the company profits, something you’d never get with the larger more established firms.”
“I particularly like that fact that the company is run for our benefit and that we in essence own part of the business. This makes the prospect of paying a gas or electricity bill much more palatable.”
“I try to be as energy efficient as possible but it’s also nice to know your energy provider practices what it preaches. I was particularly impressed with Co-operative Energy’s pledge to use renewable sources – it shows they actually care about what they’re doing.”
Co-operative Energy will source electricity from low carbon including renewable energy generators like wind and hydro and the aim is for the carbon content of their electricity to be less than half the national average by April 2012.
Jim concluded; “The value of knowing how much I’m paying and where that money is going to can’t be overestimated.”
Dr Tony Jeans, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Inspired by the opening of a new Co-operative Food store in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, retired doctor, Tony Jeans, 69, decided to join the Co-operative family and become a member. After spotting that the Co-operative now provides energy, Tony and his wife Sandra decided to see if they could save money by switching energy provider. They typed their details into the Co-operative Energy website and were thrilled when they found they could make significant savings on their annual energy costs.
Tony explains: “We live in an old grade two listed property and because of its age we are fairly restricted in what we can do to make it as energy efficient as possible. We have invested in energy saving light bulbs and made a concerted effort to conserve energy where possible, but in a house of this age it can be difficult to make dramatic savings.
“Having recently joined the Co-operative, we were keen to find out more about Co-operative Energy and whether we could save money and hassle by switching.
“Our previous energy provider had a very erratic billing system so we never really knew how much we were paying or indeed what our tariff actually was. The beauty of Co-operative Energy is we know exactly what we are being billed, allowing us to budget accordingly and get a clear understanding of the energy we are consuming. Over the course of the year we stand to make at least a 20% saving on our annual energy bill.”
Co-operative Energy is committed to providing its customers with a fair and honest deal, offering a clear pricing structure and single unit price regardless of consumption. Co-operative Energy is also challenging the big profits of the established energy suppliers by including a profit sharing deal for all Co-operative Energy customers which pays out twice a year.
Tony summed it up: “I’ve always liked the Co-operative ethos – giving customers a voice and a say in how the business operates. The switch to Co-operative Energy was pain-free and simple and we are really looking forward to seeing the savings we can make.”