Ethical energy provider Co-operative Energy has today issued a rallying call to the West Midlands encouraging people to buy local and save more than £150 a year.
The move comes as npower became the third of the Big Six energy suppliers to hike prices with an increase of 10.4% - the biggest increase of any supplier to date.
According to Co-operative Energy, the gas and electricity supplier which is part of the Midcounties Co-operative based in the Midlands, the increase means that West Midlands npower customers paying by direct debit can expect an average bill of £1,412 compared to a bill of £1,261 from Co-operative Energy. That’s a saving of 9%of the total bill and £151 a year with Co-operative Energy.
Customers who choose to pay quarterly will pay an average of £1,507 with npower and £1,324 with Co-operative Energy, again a 9% saving.
Co-operative Energy itself increased its gas and electricity prices last Friday but only by an average of 4.5%: That’s around half the increase of any other energy supplier. The new price will not apply to existing customers until January 2014 but will apply to all new customers who sign up from 21 October.
The price increase represents half the actual cost increase facing Co-operative Energy as a business and in a move designed to protect both new and existing customers it has resisted passing on a full price rise, opting instead to both absorb half of the costs and hold current prices for customers for as long as possible. Now they are encouraging people in Co-operative Energy’s West Midlands heartland – the area where they have a high concentration of customers and offer a very competitive price - to take full advantage of the potential saving.
Ramsay Dunning, general manager of Co-operative Energy, commented: “We’ve worked incredibly hard to keep our price increases to an absolute minimum and we want as many people as possible to open their eyes to the savings they can make by switching it.
“It’s absolute madness to pay more than you need to for electricity and gas and the West Midlands is an area where people can buy from a local business and save themselves an average of £150 - that’s a significant amount of money in anyone’s household budget.”
Co-operative Energy has proven track record for supporting the customer. Last autumn, when the major suppliers increased their prices by, on average, 8.5% for gas and 8.3% for electricity, it was the only supplier to cut electricity prices and the only supplier to promise to freeze all our prices throughout the cold winter months when consumers use most energy.
Wholly owned by its customers with no shareholders demanding a slice of profits, Co-operative Energy believes the move to share the burden of spiralling energy industry costs will lessen the impact on customers. It is now calling for other suppliers to follow its lead and put customers before profits.
Co-operative Energy, which is part of the Midcounties Co-operative, launched in 2011 and now has 150,000 customers. This pricing decision is consistent with Co-operative Energy’s pledge to provide its customers with fair prices and its promise to treat customers fairly.