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‘User Chooser’ Scheme Gives Power to the People

Posted on 9 July 2014

Co-operative Energy has today announced a new initiative so its customers can choose the exact mix of the different types of energy sources and even the precise generators that it will buy the energy from.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the UK energy market, 'User Chooser' is designed to give the power to choose back to the customer –as you would expect from a business that is owned by and responsible to its customers.

Ramsay Dunning, group general manager, Co-operative Energy said: “We are committed to empowering our customers by giving them choices of how and where we buy their energy. As a customer-owned business it is absolutely right that the customer should dictate where the energy we buy comes from.

“If you are a customer, with User Chooser you can now decide to have your electricity bought from your local school’s solar project, a community wind farm or even a large-scale hydro scheme in Scotland. It’s all about offering you the choice to decide how their electricity is generated. If choosing clean power over dirty power is important to you, now you can decide for yourself. 

“We think this is an industry first and fits perfectly with the government’s 2050 energy roadmap - allowing the consumer to get involved and fully engaged in the energy generation process. 

“We have always been at the forefront of sourcing power from community energy providers. However, we realise they need our continued support, so by giving our customers the choice as to the types of energy that we buy, we can also help and encourage these schemes. 

“Only by giving customers this option will we strengthen the development of clean energy for the future. Today’s initiative will see us becoming a hub for all the different community energy schemes that we support – just another way in which Co-operative Energy is supporting these types of projects with pride and tenacity.” 

Co-operative Energy currently has power purchase agreements with around 30 generators, 15 of which are owned by the community – a number which is growing all the time. It continues to source energy from a range of different types of renewable generators, including community-owned wind farms at Harlock Hill in Cumbria, Westmill in Oxfordshire and Great Dunkilns in the Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire. 

Co-operative Energy’s promise to its customers is to buy enough units from each source to match its customers’ choices, over the course of a year. Customers will not pay any additional cost for the User Chooser scheme. To provide re-assurance on the promise, an independent firm of auditors will verify the records and publish their report. 

Ramsay concluded: “This isn’t the panacea but it is another step in the right direction. We need to accelerate the development of a clean energy future. That’s why Co-operative Energy has pledged to buy its electricity from low carbon sources such as renewable energy. Taking this initiative will help our customers make an informed choice about where we buy our electricity from and how it is generated. 

“We are giving our energy customers a democratic influence over the way energy is bought now and in the future. Only by doing this will we help to ensure the energy market remains fair and competitive.”  

Co-operative Energy is part of The Midcounties Co-operative, the largest independent co-operative in the UK, owned by over half a million members. Co-operative Energy is a national business, covering the whole of England, Wales and Scotland.

The User Chooser scheme is available via Co-operative Energy’s new energy hub at:

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