Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve answered the mostly commonly asked questions in this section. Click on a heading below to get further information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, email us on info@cooperativeenergy.coop or call us on 0800 954 0693.

RMR Changes

Why have we changed the look of our bills and annual statements?

Ofgem – the Government’s energy regulator – has been reviewing the energy industry. And, in order to bring consistency to the way that we all operate and the way that we communicate with our customers, has introduced regulatory guidelines around the information we include in the bills and annual statements we issue.

To find out more about Ofgem’s Retail Market Review:

Visit www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/market-review-and-reform/retail-market-review

If you want to find out more/contact Ofgem:
visit www.ofgem.gov.uk
Tel: 020 7901 7295

Email: consumeraffairs@ofgem.gov.uk

Why do I need all this information on my bill and annual statement?

We appreciate that our bills and annual statements are lengthy but this is because Ofgem has stipulated the information we must communicate.

If you currently receive communications from us by post you can choose for all future communications to be sent via email which will help reduce our reliance on paper. Just let us know next time you speak to one of our customer service advisors.

Why has the information on the bills and statements been laid out in this way?

We are required to comply with strict Ofgem regulatory guidelines around the information we must include in the bills and statements we issue.

What do these changes mean for me?

To keep things simple, we will be offering the choice of four tariffs only at any one time making it easier for you to choose the right one for you. We let you know if we can offer you a cheaper tariff than the one you are on. We track your usage so you can see at a glance what energy you’ve used. We can also predict your energy usage for the next 12 months so that you can see the likely costs allowing you to budget more effectively. Information is simply displayed to allow for easy comparison and we provide information on where you can go for independent advice on switching your supplier and also reducing your energy usage.

To find out more about the information displayed on your bill and annual statement click here

Why are you telling me I can switch supplier?

As a regulated business we are duty bound to make you aware of all the options available to you. We know we are competitively priced and offer excellent service and therefore hope to continue providing you with your energy.

Why have you sent me a bill then a few days later sent me an annual statement?

Your annual statement is much more detailed and we felt is necessary to separate out this information so it can be more easily reviewed. Previously such information would have formed part of your bill.

Why haven’t you automatically put me on the cheapest tariff?

Different tariffs have different terms and conditions. It would be wrong of us to assume you will be willing to accept these terms and conditions for a cheaper rate without consulting you first. We believe it is important to provide our customers with all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Am I still getting membership points and if so why are they no longer appearing on my bill?

Yes, you are still getting membership points for your energy spend and meter reads. Unfortunately we are not able to show your points on the bill. Members of the Midcounties Co-operative will continue to accrue membership points and receive a Share of Points statement every six months, in June and November. You can check your membership points at: www.midcounties.coop/members/Login.aspx.

If you live in the Midcounties Co-operative region you can check your accumulated points balance in any of our food stores as they’ll be displayed on your retail receipt and will be up-to-date as of the beginning of that week. The receipt won’t itemise where points have been earned.

If you have a membership query or want help in checking your membership points call the Midcounties Co-operative membership helpline on 0800 435902 during office hours.

Can I get membership points for my energy spend if I’m a member of another Co-operative?

No. Due to Ofgem RMR regulations only Energy customers who are members of the Midcounties Co-operative can receive a share of profits from their energy spend and meter reads. If you are a member of another Co-operative we recommend you keep this membership for services you buy locally – food, travel, childcare etc. Then join the Midcounties Co-operative to get points for every pound you spend on energy and for every meter reading you provide, which in turn will entitle you to Midcounties Co-operative half yearly dividends.

How can I become a Midcounties Co-operative member?

If you are not a member and would like to join, just visit www.midcounties.coop/join-us for more information and to sign up.

New fixed price tariffs: Until July 2015 and March 2016

Why have we introduced these 2 new fixed price tariffs?

We have introduced these in response to customers who told us that they wanted fixed price tariffs with guaranteed prices, to help them to manage their household bills. We want to give our customers greater choice and flexibility too, so are offering 1 and 2 year* fixed price tariffs to complement our 3 year fixed price tariff. These fixed tariffs give all customers who choose them at least two winters of secure pricing and peace of mind.

When do these fixed price tariffs apply?

They apply a few days from your requested date of switching until your choice of either the end of July 2015 or March 2016. *The actual length of each fixed tariff is dependent on your date of switching.

  • Pioneer Fixed July 2015 is for a minimum of 1 year from the date of switching until 31 July 2015
  • Pioneer Fixed March 2016 is for a minimum of 2 years from the date of switching until 31 March 2016

Are these fixed price tariffs open to all customers?

Yes they are; these new fixed tariffs are available for both new and existing customers, whether on dual or single fuel supply, provided you are not currently in debt to us. Availability is limited and these tariffs may be withdrawn at short notice.

  • If you’re already on our Pioneer Variable tariff: It is free for you to switch.
  • If you’re already on a fixed tariff with us: It is free for you to switch, as we are waiving the exit penalty of £30 per fuel, outlined in your original contract with us, as a goodwill gesture.
  • If you’re on a pre-payment meter with us: You need to have been a pre-payment customer with us for at least 2 months and will have to pay charges to switch meter to a credit meter.
  • If you’re on a fixed tariff with another supplier: You may have to pay an exit penalty to your existing supplier if you switch away from your tariff before the end of your fixed term contract, according to the contract’s terms and conditions.

I pay quarterly on receipt of bill- can I switch to these fixed tariffs?

Yes, provided that you are prepared to change your payment method to Direct Debit. These fixed price tariffs only apply to customers who either currently pay, or are prepared to pay, by Direct Debit.

I’ve recently switched to Co-operative Energy. Can I now transfer to the fixed price tariff?

Yes, but this process needs to happen over the phone with a Customer Services/Telesales advisor. In the near future, you will also be able to do this online through our website.

Can I have one fuel on Pioneer Variable and change the other to a fixed price tariff?

Yes, you can switch just one fuel over to the 1 or 2 year fixed tariff if you wish.

As an existing customer, what is the start date of my fixed tariff?

It will generally be up to few weeks from signing up to switch to the 1 or 2 year fixed tariff. You will need to provide your meter readings at switch to make sure we can switch your tariff across and bill you correctly.

Will I pay an exit penalty for switching away from these fixed tariffs before they end?

No, as we do not want to “lock” our customers in over a period of a year or more. We prefer you to stay with us from choice. However, we may re-introduce the exit penalty for future products.

Are there regional differences in these fixed price tariffs?

Yes there are- please refer to the pricing tables on our website for regional variations on these fixed tariffs. The tariffs do take Economy 7 into account too.

What about standing charges? Have these changed?

Standing charges also differ from our usual rates: £73 per annum for electricity and either £73 or £90 per annum for gas.

In the future, we anticipate that we will have different standing charges for gas and electricity and have tried to accommodate these changes over the next one to two years in the new standing charges.

Why is the standing charge for Region 14 not cheaper as it is for Pioneer Variable?

Pioneer Variable is a variable product which means the prices may change. Our fixed tariffs are fixed for a minimum of 1 year and therefore we’ve had to fix the costs.

If I move house, can I take this deal with me?

Unfortunately not as we supply the site not the individual. You won’t get an exit penalty though and can chose to switch back to us in your new home and we will have consistently competitive tariffs for you to choose from.

Is there anything else that I need to be aware of?

If your Direct Debit payments fall into arrears, we may move you onto our standard variable tariff.

Am I eligible for membership on this fixed price tariff?

Of course, we hope that all customers choose to join either Midcounties or their local Co-operative Society and enjoy the ongoing benefits that we offer to Co-operative members.

How can I switch to this fixed price tariff?

There are two simple ways to switch:

  • Click here to get an instant price comparison and see how much we can save you
  • Call one of our sales team on 0800 093 7511 and they will do all the work for you

3-year fixed price tariff launched on 15 November 2013

Why have we introduced this fixed price tariff?

We have introduced this in response to customers who told us they wanted a fixed price tariff with guaranteed prices to help them to manage their household bills.

When does this fixed price tariff apply?

It applies a few days from your requested date of switching until the end of March 2017. It is a 3-year fixed price tariff which, if you sign up before the end 2013, will last for 4 winters.

How competitive is this new fixed tariff with those of the Big 6?

An average, Co-operative Energy dual fuel customers on the fixed tariff will pay £1,365, making it one of the most competitively-priced on the market. Additionally, since three quarters of all households are on the standard tariffs of the Big 6, we are even more competitively-priced against these standard tariffs.

Is this fixed price tariff open to all customers?

Yes, this new fixed tariff is available for new and existing customers, whether on dual or single fuel supply, provided you are not currently in debt to us. Availability is limited to the first 10,000 customers only.

  • If you’re already on a previous fixed price tariff: You will have to pay an exit penalty if you switch before the end of your fixed term contract, according to the terms of your contract.
  • If you’re on a pre-payment meter: You need to have been a pre-payment customer with us for at least 2 months and will have to pay charges to switch meter to credit meter.

I pay quarterly on receipt of bill – can I switch to this 3-year fixed tariff?

Yes, provided you are prepared to change your payment method to Direct Debit. The 3-year fixed price tariff only applies to customers who either currently pay, or are prepared to pay, by Direct Debit.

I’ve recently switched to Co-operative Energy. Can I now transfer to the fixed price tariff?

Yes, but this process needs to happen over the phone with a Customer Services/Telesales adviser. It cannot be done online through our own website.

Can I have one fuel on Pioneer Variable and change the other to the fixed price tariff?

Yes, you can switch just one fuel over to the 3-year fixed tariff if you wish.

As an existing customer, what is the start date of my fixed tariff?

It will generally be a few days from signing up to switch to the 3-year fixed tariff. You will need to provide your meter readings when you switch. This is to make sure we can switch your tariff across and bill you correctly.

Will I pay an exit penalty for switching away from this fixed tariff before it ends?

No, as Co-operative Energy does not want to ‘lock’ our customers in for a whole 3 years. We prefer you to stay with us from choice. However, we may re-introduce the exit penalty for future products.

Are there regional differences in this fixed price tariff?

Yes there are – please refer to the pricing tables for regional variations on the 3-year fixed tariff. The tariffs do take Economy 7 into account too.

What about standing charges? Have these changed?

Standing charges also differ from our usual rates: £73 per annum for electricity and £104.50 per annum for gas.
In future, we anticipate different standing charges for our gas and electricity, so we have tried to accommodate these changes over the next 3 years in the new standing charges.

If I move house, can I take this deal with me?

Unfortunately not, as we supply the site not the individual. However, someone moving property won’t get an exit penalty and can choose to switch back to us in their new home. We will have consistently competitive tariffs for them to choose from.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of?

If your Direct Debit payments fall into arrears, we may move you onto our standard variable tariff.

Am I eligible for membership on this fixed price tariff?

Of course- we hope that all our customers will also become Midcounties Co-operative members and benefit from a share of profits as a dividend payment twice a year.

How can I switch to this fixed price tariff?

There are two simple ways to switch:

  • Click here to get an instant price comparison and see how much we can save you
  • Call one of our sales team on 0800 093 7511 and they will do all the work for you

Price increase for new customers announced on 18 October 2013

By how much are your prices increasing?

The precise increase depends on where you live and how much energy you use. The average increase for an average consumer is between 2% and 6%.

We are NOT increasing prices for existing customers until January 2014, as we are absorbing the increased costs for as long as we can for our current customers.

When do the new prices take effect?

The new prices apply to customers who sign up on, or after, 21 October 2013. This does not apply to customers who sign up before this date or who are already on supply with our Pioneer Variable tariff. For existing customers, this rise will take effect in January and we will be writing to all customers in the next two weeks to confirm this.

What if I am a Big Switch customer on a fixed tariff?

Big Switch customers on a fixed deal are NOT affected and their price remains the same until April 2014.

I’ve just switched to Co-operative Energy. Will I be affected?

Your tariff will not increase if you are already on supply with us or you switch to us before 21 October 2013.

Why are you increasing your prices now?

As you’ll no doubt be aware, there are significant cost pressures affecting the supply of energy. These include:

  • increases in the cost of electricity and gas
  • increased distribution costs via pylons and pipes
  • the Government-imposed Eco levy

We have absorbed the impact of these costs ourselves for as long as possible. And, we’ll continue to do so during the next few months. However, to keep Co-operative Energy operating as a sustainable business for the future, we now need to raise our prices to cover these added costs. If you require further information on the breakdown of our costs please refer to our website here.

Our quarterly payment standing charge is also increasing….

In addition to this price increase, we’re also raising the quarterly payment standing charge for customers who Pay On Receipt Of Bill (POROB) – an increase which comes into effect on 21 October 2013 however, as an existing customer, these charges will not increase until the 8th January 2014. Over the coming weeks we will be working with existing customers to discuss your payment method and help you move to direct debit so that you do not have to pay an increased standing charge.

This will go up by £31.50 per year, meaning the total standing charge figure will now be £104.50 instead of £73. This is a rise of £0.61 per week for each fuel type to reflect our real costs.

As Co-operative Energy has grown as a business, it has become clear to us that the administration costs of serving quarterly credit customers are significantly higher than the costs of customers on Direct Debit.

Therefore, as a clear and transparent business, we want to ensure one group of customers (ie. Direct Debit) is not subsidising another (ie. POROB). Quarterly payment POROB customers who want to avoid paying more than they need to can choose to pay by Direct Debit instead.

…but this increase can be avoided by paying by Direct Debit

Direct Debit is an automatic payment which requires far less administrative input from everyone involved. And, this means Co-operative Energy can pass these savings on to our valued customers.

How much of the increase is due to Co-operative Energy’s operating costs?

It might surprise you to know that our own costs at Co-operative Energy represent only about 10% of your energy bill. For more detail, click here. It’s our firm intention to keep tight control over those costs and, because we’re mainly an online business, we’re able to maintain a lean operation.

How do your prices now compare with the major suppliers?

Even after these increases, we will still be competitively-priced against the big suppliers’ standard tariffs. These Big 6 tariffs account for three quarters of all households, so we’re still fulfilling our pledge to offer fair prices.

Why is there a price difference depending on the region I’m in?

We incur different costs in each of our regions. These costs typically include distribution charges, our meter suppliers and marketing costs. Because each region incurs different costs, we are able to serve certain regions at a lower price than others.

How are you different from the major suppliers?

We are owned by our members, not shareholders. Therefore, we are not increasing our prices to reward financial investors, but to build a successful energy business which can change the energy market for the better.

Co-operative Energy customers who are also Co-operative members have already been enjoying their share of our profits as a dividend payment twice a year. If you haven’t joined yet, why not do so here?

The switching process

How do I switch to Co-operative Energy?

There are two simple ways to switch:

  • Click here to get an instant price comparison and see how much we can save you
  • Call one of our sales team on 0800 093 7511 and they will do all the work for you

How do I get my account number?

Once you have signed up with Co-operative Energy, you will be sent a confirmation email a few days later with your account details. If you have not received this email or can’t find your account number, simply call us on 0800 954 0693 or send an email to info@cooperativeenergy.coop

How can I save money?

The easiest way to save money is to reduce the amount of energy you use. Click here for a list of ways to make your home more energy efficient. Another way to save money is to switch energy provider. At Co-operative Energy, we pride ourselves on offering our customers consistently competitive prices. Click here to see if we can save you money on your energy costs.

How long will it take?

The switching process can take between 4 to 6 weeks. But don’t worry, we make it very easy by taking care of all the details and keeping you informed of progress. All we ask of you is that you submit your meter readings around the switchover date. We have a 10-day window where we can accept these readings, from 5 days before until 5 days after. Don’t worry if you are unable to submit readings to us during this time. We will request an estimated reading from your old supplier to open your account. View how switching works for more information.

How does the switching process work?

The first step in the switching process is registration. Sign up online or by calling 0800 954 0693 and we’ll take care of the rest. You will then be sent your welcome letter by email or by post. This will include all your supply information such as your supply address, chosen product, expected switch date, Direct Debit amount and date for your first payment. Please make sure you check all the information on your welcome letter carefully, and let us know if you’d like to change anything. After receiving your welcome letter, we will apply to take over your account from your old supplier. A few days before your switchover date we will ask you to send us a meter reading. Once received, we’ll send this off for checking with your old supplier. Once checked, we’ll open your account using this reading. Once your account is opened, the switching process is complete. You should receive your first statement within 4–6 weeks of being with us, unless you have requested paper statements, which will be posted quarterly.

What if I keep getting bills from my old supplier?

If this happens, you’ll have to contact your old supplier directly. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to contact them on your behalf. However, if you’re worried, contact us and we’ll give you some tips on what to say to them to ensure they close your account properly.

What if my old supplier charges me too much on my final bill?

So that we can change your opening meter reading and ask your previous supplier to send you an amended final bill, we require two actual readings and they should be a minimum of two weeks apart. If your old suppliers’ estimates are very different – above 250kWhs for electric and 1200kWhs for gas – we are able to dispute them based on the two actual readings you have provided to us. To ensure you receive money back for what you have been charged by your previous supplier and not used, we may require further meter readings. Your previous supplier will amend their readings and be able to send you an amended final statement. This process can take up to 6 weeks and during this time you will not receive regular statements from us.

What if I change my mind?

If you change your mind after the 14-day cooling off period, it will be too late for us to stop the switch. If that happens, all you need to do is nominate another supplier and they will sign you up, which in turn will cancel your agreement with us.

You have 14 days to change your mind from the date you receive your Co-operative Energy welcome letter. If you do change your mind, call us on 0800 954 0693 to discuss your individual case.

If you change your mind after the 14 day cooling off period, it will be too late for us to stop the switch. If that happens, all you need to do is nominate another supplier and they will sign you up, which in turn will cancel your agreement with us.

Do I need to give a meter reading?

To keep your energy consumption records accurate, we encourage all our customers to send us a monthly meter reading. This can be done by phoning us on 0800 954 0693.

We reward you with points for sending us meter readings. If you feel that you are unable to submit meter readings every month, don’t worry. We will just generate a month’s statement based on estimates, which can be balanced out as soon as you are able to provide us with an up-to-date meter reading.

Price increase announced on 9th April 2013

By how much are your prices increasing?

The precise increase depends on where you live and how much energy you use. The average increase for an average consumer is 8.5% for gas and 9.0% for electricity . This equates to an increase of about £8.39 per month for an average dual fuel consumer.

When do the new prices take effect?

From 9th May 2013 for all customers on supply on our Pioneer tariff. New customers who signed up on or after 12th February 2013 are already paying the new rates.

Why are you increasing your prices now?

We have kept our prices low during the winter months when people use most energy. We were the only supplier to cut our electricity prices this winter and the only supplier to promise to freeze our prices throughout the winter months – until at least 15 April 2013 for existing customers.

The main reason we are increasing our prices now is that the costs we are charged to transport energy has increased by 12% from 1st April. We have also experienced a 5% rise in energy costs since our last price change in November. We need to increase our prices in line with these rises to ensure we continue to run a sustainable business for our members. If you require further information on the breakdown of our costs please refer to our website here.

Why is the standing charge increasing as well as the unit rate

The increased costs we are charged to transport energy are reflected in both the standing charge and the unit rate as this is how we are charged by our third party suppliers.

The standing charge also covers the costs of running an electricity or gas meter, such as the rental costs we are charged by the meter provider and the costs of meter readings.

Since we launched to the public in May 2011, we have increased the standing charge only once – by 2% in Sept 2012 – and this was reversed when we cut our electricity prices by 2% in December 2012.

How do your prices now compare with the major suppliers?

After this increase, we will still be competitively priced against the big suppliers’ standard tariffs, which account for three quarters of all households, fulfilling our pledge to offer consistently competitive pricing.

Compared with the big suppliers’ standard tariffs, we are priced within the top two in eight of the fourteen regions of Great Britain (Source: energyhelpline 2nd April 2013).

How are you different from the major suppliers?

We are owned by our customers, so we are not increasing prices to reward financial investors, but to build a successful energy business which can change the energy market for the better. Remember, if you have chosen to be a member of the Co-operative you will get two profit distributions a year. If you are not a member, you can join by visiting www.midcounties.coop.

Can I cancel my contract with Co-operative Energy?

Yes. We don’t want to lock anyone in to Co-operative Energy. You are free to leave at any time without exit penalty. But we hope that the way we treat customers and the way we keep our prices competitive, even after this increase, will persuade people that we are a good long term energy supplier for them.

How do I switch away from Co-operative Energy?

Simply choose a new energy supplier and tell them you would like to switch to them. They will then sort everything out for you. They will tell us when your final bill is due and we will bill you up to that final date, settling any outstanding balance by agreement with you.
If you tell us before 9th May that you have chosen a new energy supplier, we will settle and close your account with us at the old rates.

I’ve just switched to Co-operative Energy. Will I be affected?

If you are already on supply with us and you asked to switch to us on or before 11th February 2013, your prices will increase from 9th May 2013.
If you asked to switch to us on or after 12th February 2013, you are already paying these new rates so you will not be affected.

Will my direct debit payments change?

No, not as an immediate result of this price increase. We’ll continue to review all direct debit payment levels regularly to ensure they cover your consumption. We’ll write to you if we need to change the level of your direct debit. If you would like to stay on top of your energy bills and increase your monthly payment sooner rather than later, please contact us.

How much of the increase is due to Co-operative Energy’s own operating costs?

It might surprise you to know that our own costs at Co-operative Energy represent only about 10% of your energy bill. For more detail, click here. It’s our firm intention to keep tight control over those costs. We maintain a lean operation as a mainly online business.

How can I reduce my energy bills?

We have included some practical tips on saving energy on our website here. We are also piloting a range of energy saving services, and will contact all customers as soon as these are available.

How will the price increase show on my bill?

Whenever a price change occurs, our system creates a new ‘tariff version’ that is used for all units you consume after the date of the price change.

When a bill is produced for a customer for a period that spans the effective date of the price change – in this case 9th May – the bill is split into charging periods before and after that date. An estimated meter reading is produced for the date of the change. This is calculated by pro-rating on a straight line basis per day between the nearest available reading (whether a customer’s own reading, a meter operator reading or an estimated reading) before and after the effective date of the price change.

Consumption is then calculated for each charging period (before and after the date of the price change) using the prices that were in effect for that period. This is clearly indicated as separate charging lines on the bill, together with the pro-rated estimate of consumption.

If an actual or deemed reading is received at a later date that shows the pro-rated estimate to be incorrect, then a cancel/re-bill takes place.

How can I ensure my bill is accurate?

The best thing you can do is submit a meter reading online or over the phone close to 9th May. Remember if you do it online, we reward you with 25 points (one award per calendar month per fuel type). So, if you are a really diligent dual fuel customer, you can earn up to 600 points a year just by submitting regular meter readings.

I can’t afford this increase. What should I do?

If you are worried about paying your energy bills, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.
For impartial information and advice about changing your energy supplier, we suggest you call the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

Where can I get more information?

Further information about this price increase can be found in a short video which you’ll find at http://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/ourprices

Prices

Where can I find your prices?

You can view prices for your region in our price tables. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please call us on 0800 954 0693.

What is your winter price freeze?

To give our customers certainty and peace of mind at a time of year when energy bills are rising, we are promising not to increase our prices until Spring 2013 (15 April 2013 to be precise) at the earliest. Depending on market conditions at that time, we might be able to extend the price freeze for longer.

This offer applies to existing customers who signed up to Co-operative Energy before 12th February 2013.

We last changed our prices on 1 August 2012 to cover the extra costs we’re charged by our regulator for transmission and distribution of energy.

Why do prices change so frequently in the energy market?

Energy is a volatile commodity, as volatile as share prices. Wholesale market energy costs fluctuate all the time. Although we will try and keep our prices as stable as possible for as long as possible, we may sometimes need to change them.

What do price changes mean to me?

When you sign up to Co-operative Energy, we buy your energy upfront for at least three months. So when costs rise, we don’t have to raise our prices immediately. Instead, we can give you plenty of notice and guarantee to keep your price unchanged for at least one month, to give you time to shop around if you want to. That’s part of our policy of openness, honesty and transparency. But when prices fall, we’ll pass the benefit on to you straight away.

What is a variable price?

A variable price means that your energy prices may rise or fall in line with the wholesale market, although we try to avoid changing our prices too frequently. If we increase our prices, we’ll give you 30 days’ advance notice. If we reduce our prices, we’ll apply them across the board to all customers straight away.

What is a fixed price?

Most suppliers offer fixed price products, a bit like fixed rate mortgages. A fixed price means that, regardless of whether short-term wholesale energy costs rise or fall, you will always pay the unit price you signed up to, for the duration of the agreement, which can be one, two or three years.

Fixed rate tariff

What does fixed rate tariff mean?

It means the unit price and service charge are guaranteed not to change up or down before the end date on the tariff name, for example 31 July 2013. In return, if you cancel the contract before then, we will charge an early cancellation fee of £30 (including VAT) per fuel. If you don’t want to make that commitment and prefer the simplicity of Pioneer, which has no exit penalties, you might prefer the flexibility which that tariff offers.

What will happen when the fixed rate tariff ends?

We’ll contact you at least 30 days before the end of the fixed term with details of your options at that time. We’ll make sure you have plenty of time to decide.

Can you change the prices while I am on the fixed rate tariff?

No, they are fixed.

If you lower prices for customers on your Pioneer tariff, will I benefit from a reduction too?

No. Unit rates and service charges on the fixed rate tariff won’t go up or down.

Why do you have early cancellation fees with this tariff?

We can fix your prices for 12 months by committing to buy all your energy now at today’s prices. So if you cancel early, we will have bought too much energy for the next 12 months and we may not be able to sell the excess on the markets at the same price. So the early cancellation fee covers our administration costs and any losses we might incur on the energy you will no longer need from us.

What are the detailed terms and conditions of the early cancellation fees?

If you are on the fixed rate tariff and wish to cancel the contract, you can do so at any time by giving us 28 days’ or more notice.

If for whatever reason you choose to cancel the contract before the end date on the tariff name (for example, 31 July 2013), we will charge an early cancellation fee of £30 (including VAT) per fuel. This will appear on your final bill.

If you cancel because you are moving home, we will re-credit the cancellation fee if you choose Co-operative Energy as your new supplier at your new home within three months of the cancellation.

If you cancel because you want to switch to another Co-operative Energy tariff, we will still charge you an early cancellation fee. This is because we can only offer you the very competitive prices on the fixed rate tariff by being certain that the energy we have bought for the 12 months duration of that tariff will match our customers’ needs. If you don’t stay on the tariff for 12 months, we will have bought too much energy, and we might not be able to sell the excess back to the market at a good price.

Will my bill dates change?

No

Can I still claim my winter fuel discount with a fixed price tariff?

Yes

What happens if I change my mind and want to go back to a variable rate tariff after a period of being on the fixed rate tariff?

You are free to cancel your fixed rate tariff before the end date on the tariff name, for example 31 July 2013, but you will be charged an early cancellation fee of £30 (including VAT) per fuel if you do.

The energy supply agreement

Contract terms and conditions

Your energy supply from Co-operative Energy is governed by a legal contract which is on page 2 of your welcome pack. The contract should be read in conjunction with our standard terms and conditions, which are reproduced here

What if I change my mind?

You have 14 days to change your mind. All you have to do is put it in writing – by email or letter.

After this time, we’ll still respect your wish to change, but it might take a little time to halt the switching process, depending where we’ve got to with it. Give us a call on 0800 954 0693 to discuss your individual case.

What if I want to leave Co-op Energy?

You can leave by giving us notice at any time. If there is a debt outstanding, we may object to your switching to another supplier until the debt is repaid. However, if you are repaying a debt to us by means of a prepayment meter and there is a debt outstanding, you may only switch to another supplier if either (a) you repay the debt to us; or (b) if the debt you are repaying is £500 or less and your new supplier agrees to take on the debt

How can I dispute my opening meter reading?

So that we can change your opening meter reading and ask your previous supplier to send you an amended final bill, we require two actual readings and they should be a minimum of two weeks apart. If your old suppliers’ estimates are very different – above 250kWhs for electric and 1200kWhs for gas – we are able to dispute them based on the two actual readings you have provided to us. To ensure you receive money back for what you have been charged by your previous supplier and not used, we may require further meter readings. Your previous supplier will amend their readings and be able to send you an amended final statement. This process can take up to 6 weeks and during this time you will not receive regular statements from us.

Why have estimated readings been used to open my account?

Before we opened your account, you should have received a reminder from us asking you to submit your opening meter readings within 5 days before or after the supply start date. If we do not receive these readings within that time, we would have been unable to submit them to your previous supplier for verification and an estimated meter reading will have been used. If you would like to call us on 0800 954 0693, one of our customer service advisors will be able to help.

How often will you read my meters?

We’ll aim to read your meters twice a year. It’s still important for you to submit your own meter readings – ideally every month – to ensure we’re charging you as accurately as possible. This can be done online, and we’ll reward you with points for every meter reading you send in. However, even if you send us lots of meter readings, our meter readers will still need to come around because, for safety reasons, we need to have a trained person take a reading from you at least every two years.

Payments and statements

What is your refund procedure?

If your account is showing a large credit (defined as a cash balance equal to two calendar months direct debit payments), we are very happy to refund this amount back to you if you ask us. We will also review your direct debit level every six months to ensure it is set at the right level. Please be aware that in the Spring and Summer months, you should expect to be in credit because your energy consumption will be lower and your direct debit is at a constant level. Conversely, in the winter months, you would expect not to be in credit. So, we have to take a whole year view when assessing requests for refunds. Once approved, your refund should be in your bank account by the end of the following week.

How will you calculate my direct debit?

Your direct debit will be calculated based on the price estimate we gave you before you signed up. We divide this amount into:

  • 12 equal payments over the year if you are paying by monthly direct debit. Each payment will be taken on the 5th, 15th or 25th of each month, depending which choice you selected when you signed up.
  • 13 equal payments over the year if you are paying by four-weekly direct debit. Each payment will be taken every four weeks on a Friday, starting with the Friday you selected when you signed up.
  • 26 equal payments over the year if you are paying by fortnightly direct debit. Each payment will be taken every two weeks on a Friday, starting with the Friday you selected when you signed up.

We will review your direct debit amount every 6 months because we want to make sure your direct debit is always accurately reflecting your actual consumption. We recommend to all our customers that they check their statements to make sure their meter readings are accurate.

Will my payments change?

We estimate what your direct debit level should be from your energy consumption history, which we get when you join us. It always helps though, if you also supply us with a meter reading when you join. We may need to adjust your direct debit payment up or down as we get more accurate information about how much energy you normally use. If we need to adjust your direct debit, we’ll let you know in plenty of time. Adjusting your direct debit payment is not the same as us changing our unit prices. Adjusting your direct debit payment is simply to make sure you don’t get too far in arrears or credit.

What if my statement is wrong?

If there’s a problem with your statement, please call us on 0800 954 0693. Our customer service advisors will work hard to get to the bottom of any issue as quickly as possible. It will usually help if you have a meter reading handy when you call.

If you have not supplied a meter reading in time for your next quarterly statement, we will use an estimated reading. If you believe this estimate is too high or too low, please submit a meter reading online as soon as possible so that we can update your records. Any adjustments will then be reflected in the next scheduled statement.

Why hasn’t my statement arrived?

To reduce the amount of paper we use, we send your statement via email. If you haven’t received an electronic copy of your statement, let us know. We’ll send you another copy immediately and do our best to find out what went wrong in the first place. Please remember to check your junk email folder, as our email may have been diverted there. If you would like to receive your statement by post, please ask.

How can I get a copy of my statement?

If you need to request a copy of a statement, contact us or call us on 0800 954 0693. As we are trying to reduce the amount of paper we use, we will send your copy statement via email.

What if I can’t pay?

The first thing to do is call us on 0800 954 0693. We’ll do everything we can to help you work things out. For wider advice and information on money worries, you might find these organisations helpful:

  • The Debt Advice Trust – 0800 954 6549
  • The National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) – 0800 138 1111
  • Community Legal Advice (CLA) – 0845 345 4 345
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau

For more information about how we work with customers in payments difficulty, click here

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount scheme is a Government programme which mandates the larger, and some smaller, domestic energy suppliers to provide direct and indirect support arrangements to customers in, or at risk of, fuel poverty.

As you may be aware, at Co-operative Energy we have been running our own voluntary scheme to help our vulnerable customers. However, due to our continued growth, we have now reached the required thresholds to become a Compulsory Scheme Supplier for scheme year 2014/15 which begins on 14 April 2014.

If you are a customer of ours on 12 July 2014 and are in receipt of the following benefits, you will receive an electricity bill rebate of £140. This is called the Core Group:

  • Pension Credit, or;
  • Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, aged 65 and over, or;
  • Guarantee Credit Only.

The good news is that the compulsory scheme reaches a wider group of customers and we will be able to provide much needed rebates to more of the most vulnerable of our customers. These will be customers who are amongst a defined list of benefit recipients who are in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. This is called the Broader Group. As our eligibility criteria are still in the process of being approved we are yet to define our handling of this part of the scheme. As soon as we have further information we shall make an announcement on our website.

Priority services for customers with special requirements

What is our Priority Services Register?

At Co-operative Energy we have what’s called a Priority Service Register. The PSR is a confidential register of people with special requirements; it allows us and our representatives to identify each customer with a special requirement and to help us improve our service. Any customer of a pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick can request to be placed on this register, enabling us to be made aware of customers who could be severely affected by the loss of their electricity or gas supply. If you feel that you are eligible for our Priority Service Register, contact us on 0800 954 0693 and we can go through the criteria over the phone or, if you prefer, we can post out a copy of our questionnaire for you to complete.

For more information, click here

Services for customers who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick

If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick, we offer the following services free of charge:

  • If you or someone on your behalf ask us we will add you to our Priority Services Register. This will ensure that we let you know about the services we offer and that we and our representatives know about your requirements in case there’s an emergency;
  • We will agree a password with you so that you can confirm the identity of anyone contacting you on our behalf such as an engineer from the local electricity network;
  • If you would like someone to receive bills on your behalf and they agree, you can nominate them by giving us their name and address;
  • If there is no one in your household able to read the meter, we can arrange for a meter reader to visit at least once every three months;
  • If you are paying through a prepayment meter and you find that you can no longer access the meter to make payments, we can move the meter.

Services for customers who are blind, partially sighted, deaf or hearing impaired

If you would like information about a bill, statement or service we provide, or to make a complaint, we offer the following services free of charge:

  • If you are hard of hearing and have access to a textphone, you can call us through the text relay service by dialling 18001 0800 954 0693;
  • You can always email us at info@cooperativeenergy.coop
  • You can register with us to receive a regular talking bill or to receive your statements and letters in large print or Braille format.

Moving home

I’m moving home – how can I sign up to Co-operative Energy?

If you’re a new customer, you can either sign up online by clicking here, or you can contact us on 0800 954 0693 and one of our customer service advisors will talk you through the procedure.

If you’re an existing customer and you would like us to supply your new property, all you need to do is contact us to register your new address. This process will take us 4–6 weeks to complete.

You should take a meter reading as soon as you move into your new property and give it to whichever supplier is currently supplying the property, to make sure they don’t keep charging you. If you don’t know which supplier is currently supplying the property, call us and we will look it up on the national database.

What do I do if I want to close my account when moving out?

If you are moving home and you need to close your account with Co-operative Energy, give us a call on 0800 954 0693 or send an email to info@cooperativeenergy.coop and provide us with the following details:

  • The date you have moved or are moving
  • A meter reading for that date, or a date near it
  • Your new address or forwarding details
  • Your new contact telephone number

We would also like to know, if you have their permission:

  • The name of the new occupier and their contact telephone/email address
  • The expected moving in date of the new occupier, if known
  • The name and address of the landlord, if there is one

Meters and meter readings

What can I expect from your meter readers?

All our representatives need to meet our high standards.
See our statement here

How do I read my meters?

To find out how to read your meters, please click here to visit out how to read your meter page.

SMS meter readings?

For customers who signed up on or after 11 May 2012, Co-operative Energy is contacting you through Short Message Service (SMS) to help make the process of providing opening meter readings a whole lot easier. All you need to do is text GAS or ELEC followed by a space and your opening meter reading to 60033.

This service is not yet available to customers who signed up before 11 May 2012 or for meter readings other than opening meter readings used to start your supply with Co-operative Energy.

The 60033 short code is not a premium number and you will not be charged for any text messages you receive from us. However, if you reply with your gas or electricity reading, these messages will be charged at your standard network rate, and you should be aware that most operators do not include these within their contracted text allowance. For more information on your standard network rate and contracted text allowance, please contact your network provider.

Our SMS message service gives you the option of unsubscribing at any time. To unsubscribe, simply text COOP. As above, this message will be charged at your standard network rate.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a meter for measuring gas, electricity or water consumption (or any combination), which is able to send regular and accurate readings to the supplier without the need to have a meter reader call in person. A smart meter can eliminate the need for estimates and reduce the issues that often cause customer dissatisfaction, such as inaccurate bills. A smart meter can also inform the householder of their consumption in real time, encouraging energy efficient behavior. A smart meter may also be able to inform certain non-time-critical appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines when to run and when not to run, depending on energy prices and national energy demand at any particular point in time.

What is your policy on smart meters?

The government wants to see smart meters installed in every UK household by 2019. This will be the responsibility of energy suppliers like us, so don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything. The rollout programme and the charging structure have not yet been agreed, nor have the national standards and engineering protocols which suppliers must adhere to. Until all this detail is resolved, we don’t plan to roll out smart meters to our customers because we don’t want to risk wasting money on smart meters that turn out to be non-compliant with the finally agreed standards. We will continue monitoring the progress of the government’s smart meter rollout programme and take a decision on our policies as soon as they are finalised.

Some suppliers have already installed their own versions of smart meters, sometimes called Advanced Domestic Meters. Please note that, if you have one of these meters, we are unable to use them to take meter readings ourselves remotely. The meter will still measure your daily consumption and you will still be able to submit meter readings to us. However, this will have to be done manually over the phone or online through your secure online account.

Co-operative membership

What does “membership” mean?

Customers of Co-operative Energy can choose to become members of The Midcounties Co-operative, the co-operative which owns Co-operative Energy. Members of Midcounties are the legal owners of Midcounties; they appoint the board of directors and they decide how profits are used.

One of the main benefits of being a member of Midcounties is that you will receive points for every £1 you spend in one of our businesses including energy. We distribute a profit share twice a year based on Midcounties profits. The proportion of the dividend you receive depends on the points you have accumulated.

I’d like to join now

Is there more than one “Co-op”?

Yes, Midcounties is one of a number of co-operative businesses that share a common brand. Perhaps the best known is The Co-operative Group based in Manchester which owns The Co-operative Bank and many co-operative stores around the country.

I am already a co-op member. Do I need to join again if I switch to Co-operative Energy?

We’ve worked with other Co-operative societies to find the best solution in line with the new Ofgem RMR regulations. We recommend you keep the membership you use for services that you buy locally – food, travel, childcare etc. Then to benefit from being an energy customer you sign up for Midcounties Co-operative membership. You will be rewarded with points for every pound spent on energy and for meter readings which in turn entitles you to Midcounties Co-operative half yearly dividends.

You can tell which co-operative you are a member of by looking at the first few digits of your membership number on your membership card.

To sign up for Midcounties Co-operative membership apply on line at https://www.midcounties.coop/join-us/

Name of Co-operative

First digits of membership number

Contact phone number for membership enquiries

The Co-operative Group

63317491 to 94

0800 023 4708

Midcounties Co-operative

63317495

0800 435 902

Midlands Co-operative

63317496

01543 414140

Southern Co-operative

6331749801 to 849

0800 652 0124

Anglia Co-operative

63317497

0845 241 0433

Chelmsford Star Co-operative

6331749850 to 899

01245 490101

How do I accumulate points and what are they worth?

Every time you spend £1 on energy, we credit your membership account with one point. In addition, we add 25 points for each meter reading you send each month (that’s 25 points per fuel per month; maximum 50 points per month).

Every six months, our members decide how much profit Midcounties should distribute to members, bearing in mind the need to reinvest some profits in the business to fund future growth. The amount which members decide to distribute is divided up amongst members pro rata to how many points each member has accumulated.Points accumulated in the trading period February to July are converted into a share of profits and paid out in November. To avoid us having to pay out small amounts, which would not be cost effective, amounts of less than £2.00 and odd pence are carried forward to the next trading period. Points accumulated in the trading period August to January are converted into a share of profits and paid out in June, along with any carry forward from the previous trading period.

Click here for a diagram which explains the timings for accumulating points and receiving their value.

How will I get my share of the profits?

Unless you choose otherwise, we send out your share of profits in the form of shopping vouchers, which we post to your home address. You can use your vouchers in any of the outlets displaying the co-op membership logo where they can be redeemed or exchanged for cash. You will need to have your membership card with you to use the vouchers.

If you would prefer to have your share of profits credited against your next energy bill, which some members find more convenient, visit www.midcounties.coop or call our membership help line on 0800 435902.

You can also donate your share of the profits to charity, and may choose up to three of our supported charities. You can also choose to donate your share of the profits to our Community Fund, which distributes grants to local community projects and organisations. To change your payment method for your share of the profits, please visit www.midcounties.coop or call our membership help line on 0800 435902.

How do I register for online access to my membership account?

If you are a member of Midcounties, visit www.midcounties.coop and click “Already a member”. Then click “Register now” to receive your first automated password needed to log in.

Low carbon

What is your policy on feed-in tariffs?

As part of its policy to tackle climate change, the Government has introduced financial support for households which install low carbon electricity generating technologies, such as photovoltaic cells and wind turbines. The financial support takes the form of a guaranteed payment, known as a “feed-in tariff”, for the amount of electricity generated. The Government has delegated to energy suppliers the task of administering the feed-in tariff.

If you would like more information about Co-operative Energy’s feed-in tariff payment scheme, please email fit@cooperativeenergy.coop

For more impartial information about feed-in tariffs, please go to the Energy Saving Trust website here

What is your policy on renewable energy?

We are enthusiastic supporters of renewable energy. We buy as much of our electricity as possible from renewable generators and we invest in new renewable energy generators, such as West Mill Wind Farm near Swindon, which is itself run as a co-operative.

However, we are not committing to source all our electricity from renewable generators for two reasons. Firstly, as we become a bigger supplier in the UK energy market, we do not believe that renewable energy will satisfy all our demand at an affordable cost. Secondly, we believe that an holistic solution is needed if the UK is to meet its challenging carbon reduction targets by 2020, including energy saving and other low carbon technologies.

We have committed to a stretching low carbon target which is explained here

What is your policy on nuclear power?

The events in Japan in March 2011 serve as a powerful reminder of the risks of nuclear power. In recent years, nuclear power has been promoted by governments around the world as a low carbon energy source which will be a necessary part of the solution to tackle climate change. Many governments are now revisiting that policy, but with an emphasis on safety reviews rather than outright abandonment.

Co-operative Energy is pledging to have a fuel mix for electricity which has less than half the national average of carbon. This is a continuous improvement target, becoming ever more challenging to achieve, and helping to drive down carbon consumption as we become a larger player in the industry.

Our current policy on nuclear power is to leave open the possibility that we may buy electricity generated by nuclear power stations in order to meet our low carbon target if we cannot source enough renewable energy at an affordable price. This is hypothetical. In the year ending 31 March 2012, 100% of our electricity came from renewable energy.

We will monitor closely the UK government’s policy on nuclear power and keep you informed of our position on this. In the meantime, we will disclose our fuel mix on our website and say as much as we can about where we are buying our energy from.

What is your policy on shale gas and fracking?

Our first priority is to help our customers to reduce demand for energy through energy efficiency measures.

Our second priority is to meet that reduced demand with minimal environmental impact. This means sourcing our energy from low carbon fuels, which is reflected in our low carbon target: to keep the carbon emissions from the electricity generated for our customers at below half the national average.

We actively support renewable and very low emissions energy technologies; we do not seek to encourage the exploitation of fossil fuels, especially carbon-intensive fuels such as coal and oil.

However we recognise that, in the shorter term, the use of some fossil fuel is unavoidable. Therefore, where we do procure fossil fuels such as gas for our customers, our aim is to ensure the minimum environmental impact.

Shale gas and the technique of ‘fracking’ does pose considerable environmental risk, and in many cases has proven environmental impact. However, these techniques are extensions of techniques used in, for example, the North Sea for decades. Emotive language can obscure the difference between responsible and irresponsible practice in shale gas extraction.

We oppose the exploitation of any fossil fuel without the most rigorous regulatory and legislative framework to protect the environment. Evidence is that in some countries such protection is not in place and we do not buy gas from those countries. We would also not buy gas from suppliers who chose not to maintain the highest standards of environmental protection or who chose to ignore the democratic will of the local population who live in the vicinity of the extraction site.

What to do in an emergency

What do I do in an emergency?

I think I can smell gas, what should I do? Click here.

I have no electricity, what should I do? Click here.