On Monday, 17th December 2012, Co-operative Energy attended the Fair Energy Summit to discuss a fair deal for consumers. The ethical energy provider, which will cut electricity charges for customers by 2% from Friday, 21st December, has committed to support the pledges below which mirror Co-operative Energy's current business practices:
Market fairness, transparency and diversity
- Energy companies should be obliged to put their customers on the very best tariff available to them.
- Energy companies should commit to phasing out all practices of predatory pricing – this should specifically mean abolishing any loss leader tariffs, so that all customers have the confidence that they are paying a fair price and not subsidising others.
- The regulator should commit to stamping out predatory pricing using its existing powers of enforcement.
- Energy companies need to keep things simple – including committing to no more complex pricing structures, limiting the number of tariffs and making bills as easy to understand by the customer as possible.
- The Government should commit to ensure that all taxes raised from energy are spent on energy, to make sure that energy taxes are appropriated and used fairly.
- The Government must ensure that the reforms outlined in the Energy Bill that directly impact on the price or service that customers receive from their energy company are clearly explained and communicated to them in simple and easy to understand terms.
Energy consumption and efficiency, tackling fuel poverty and support for vulnerable groups
- Energy companies must be completely open and transparent about their business activities.
- In the interests of greater fairness, transparency and market liquidity all energy companies should commit to gradually phasing in the auction of all their electricity supply and purchase all their electricity demand.
- The Government should continue to reduce the barriers to entry to the energy supply market for new providers, in particular tapering the thresholds at which the full licence conditions apply to small providers and ensuring that no customer is disadvantaged by any exemptions that apply to small providers.
- Energy companies must take both their environmental and social responsibilities seriously, specifically including further help and support for their fuel poor customers – recognising that increasing the energy efficiency of homes is by far the best way forward in tackling the energy cost challenge. Current energy efficiency measures are simply not sufficient – the Government’s own impact assessment estimates that with Green Deal and ECO only between 125,000 to 250,000 households will be lifted out of fuel poverty by 2023 - a more vigorous programme of investment, starting with the areas of poorest quality and thermal efficiency, is needed – energy suppliers need to play a greater role in ensuring this happens.
- Energy companies should adopt the widest possible criteria for the £130 Warm Home Discount and actively encourage their customers most in need to apply for it.
- The Government should ensure the better targeting of the current £200 winter fuel payment so that it is targeted at those households most in need.
- As part of its climate change and energy efficiency strategy, the Government should ensure that energy literacy is included in the school curriculum.