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You spoke, we listened

Posted on 25 August 2015

You spoke, we listened

At Co-operative Energy, we think it’s really important to talk to our customers. That’s why we recently held our first Energy Members Advisory Panel.

The Members Advisory Panel is responsible for representing the views of customers like you. More importantly, it’s also responsible for ensuring that what you want is reflected in our service, so that we can always deliver the best for our customers.

Below we have captured a selection of the areas brought up by the Panel. We’ve kept our responses as honest, open and transparent as possible, so that you can get the answers you need for your big questions.

I find my energy statement confusing. Can you make it simpler?

Current energy statements can seem complex to customers, with a vast amount of information over numerous pages. We have very little choice as to the information we provide on statements because this is set down by the energy regulators. However, we will look into using a one-page simple summary, in addition to the full bill information, to help our customers make better sense of the information.

The one-page statement would let customers know where they can find further details, perhaps by providing a link to a website which would hold the full statement information.

I would like to be better kept up-to-date with information about Co-operative Energy and the energy industry.

Currently in discussion, we are considering the addition of a blog-style section on our website, with articles going up as and when appropriate. This will include an area for comments, to allow customers to ask questions and discuss the updates together.

Customer Service Advisers do not seem equipped to offer energy efficiency advice; could you improve the training so advice can be offered over the phone?

Our staff undergo regular training and update sessions to keep them fully informed and knowledgeable. We will look to include energy saving advice in our future training schedule.

The online instructions on how to read a meter seem complex, could they be simplified?

We try to provide easy-to-follow information about reading your meter and understanding your bills on our website. Due to the number of meter types in use, it can be difficult for customers to identify their meter type. We will review our current ‘How to read your meter’ instructions and try to simplify wherever possible. 

Could you explore how you can help to reduce carbon from individual customer consumption?

This is something we can consider in the future.  When we purchase energy we look for the lowest carbon emissions and cleanest technology and we will continue to look at ways to reduce your carbon footprint. In the meantime, customers can use our User Chooser feature to select their own carbon-friendly energy mix at no extra cost.

Co-operative Energy becoming 100% renewable would be desirable, so long as any cost premium was not too great. Is this something you would consider?

100% green tariffs from other suppliers can come at a premium. However, our customers can currently choose green energy without a premium. With our User Chooser service, customers can choose where their energy comes from for themselves – down to the exact producer in some cases. In fact, you can enjoy local renewable energy at the touch of a button. We can’t currently guarantee the energy will come direct from the site but we can use your green choices to drive more sustainable developments in your local area.

Has Co-operative Energy fully explored the most efficient use of smart meters, for example using a narrower radio band spectrum?

We are currently trialling smart meters with some of our customers. We are researching the option to use radio band spectrum whilst conducting these trials. 

Can you develop a policy addressing fuel poverty by working more closely with housing co-ops?

At Midcounties Co-operative we are currently working with housing co-operatives to develop a sustainable Co-operative housing model that not only addresses fuel poverty, but also delivers mutual ownership and environmentally friendly housing. This model will also deliver a high level of energy efficient homes and affordable housing.

We will also shortly be launching our Warm Home Discount Scheme for 2015/2016 which helps customers in fuel poverty. The Scheme provides a one-off payment towards electricity bills for some of the most vulnerable households in Britain. Keep an eye on our website for more details.

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