Mother of one, Babs MacGregor switched to The Co-operative Energy when the opportunity arose after signing up for the Big Switch.
Babs has worked for workers co-operative Green City Wholefoods for the past twelve years but has lived in a housing co-operative since 2006, therefore she felt it made sense to obtain her energy from a co-operative too.
Babs says ‘my experience of working for a co-operative means I’m familiar with the co-operative business model. When the opportunity arose to join The Co-operative Energy via the Big Switch it meant that my home, work and energy would all be part of a Co-operative.
Babs has lived in her flat for three years, and found the switch to The Co-operative Energy really easy.
‘Joining was a smooth transition. Once I’d entered my details, The Co-operative Energy managed the switch, contacting my previous supplier. They did all the backroom work, regularly informing me of how it was going, which is really important as I think a lot of people are put off switching as they think it will involve a lot of time on their part. It was pretty much hassle-free.’
Babs feels as though there are many benefits to being part of The Co-operative Energy.
She explains ‘I feel extremely secure with The Co-operative Energy’s business approach. I know that profits aren’t going to be made at the expense of customers, which I feel is the case with other energy suppliers who are more interested in lining the pockets of shareholders. The Co-operative Energy customers are more than just customers, they are also members, and being in a Co-operative means that they share profits amongst members not shareholders. There is more transparency too as they tell you about the profits they make, unlike other providers. Recently they were quick to pass on a price decrease, which is great news for customers.’
Overall Babs said ‘I would absolutely recommend The Co-operative Energy. People are reluctant to switch supplier as they have lost confidence in most energy suppliers, but The Co-operative Energy is different and they make it very easy.’
As a freelance outdoor educator from Tyne and Wear, Alison had been considering switching energy providers for a while when she received an email about the Big Switch.
Alison explains ‘I had been thinking about changing energy supplier for a while. I’d lost faith in my old provider, and with my house being expensive to run from an energy point of view, I knew that it was time to look elsewhere.’
Alison lives in a three and a half storey Victorian terrace in Ryton. The house is very roomy and therefore proves difficult to keep warm even though it is fully insulated and draft proofed. In addition to this, the house has a large AGA fire stove and although it looks attractive it only adds to the demanding energy costs.
Although we offered a lower price than other energy suppliers, it wasn’t the only reason Alison was persuaded to switch. She is a strong believer in the co-operative movement and so our ethical values helped to seal the deal.
Alison explains ‘I was thrilled when I found out that it was The Co-operative Energy that was involved with the Big Switch. I’m a member of my local co-operative and really buy into their values. I trust them and I think it is crucial, particularly in the current energy environment.’
Although Alison admits she had some initial worries about the move, switching to The Co-operative Energy was easier than she anticipated.
‘I was slightly concerned that the switch may have turned out to be a bit of a hassle but I shouldn’t have worried. The Co-operative Energy sent me a timeline of what I could expect to happen and when, which helped to put my mind at ease. And, of course, everything took place as simply and smoothly as possible. My experience with them so far has been really positive and their decision to freeze prices until at least April of next year confirmed to me that I had made a great decision to move.’
As a supporter of animal welfare campaigns, fairtrade and the green agenda, Sally Cooke has been a Co-operative shopper for many years and is a big fan of The Co-operative ethos. When The Co-operative Energy launched she was first to switch supplier for both her gas and electricity.
She explains ‘I didn’t have a particular problem with my previous energy supplier but I like the thinking of The Co-operative. I also really love the idea of all the customers being shareholders instead of a fat cat stuffing money into his pockets’.
Sally is a member of Stretton Climate Care and is committed to reducing her carbon footprint. She describes herself as a ‘jumper on rather than heating on’ type of person. When she checked her energy bill with The Co-operative Energy she found she could be green and save money by switching. Sally says ‘that was the bonus to be honest. I wanted to switch to The Co-operative Energy because I’d be a shareholder and because of their realistic commitment to sourcing greener energy where possible, but the money-saving was the icing on the cake.’
Sally has battled myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for 19 years. When she is less mobile she needs to be able to turn the heating on, as well as relying on electricity to power her mobility scooter.
She says ‘my bill is modest compared to other people but every penny counts. My scooter is my lifeline and I use it to get around town and for shopping. It has to be charged up regularly so my energy bill is something I watch, but I like the idea that my scooter is powered with green energy from The Co-operative.
Susan Hollick from Swindon switched to The Co-operative Energy in February 2011 after hearing about the service through her work colleagues.
Susan said ‘Because I live alone it’s easier for me to manage my energy costs than it would be for a large family. However, I’m still keen to make sure I’m getting the best deal. As an employee of The Co-operative Food store I heard about The Co-operative Energy and decided to find out more about their service and any savings I might be able to make.
I accessed The Co-operative Energy website and found that I could make a substantial saving by switching, combined with the knowledge that I’d receive a percentage of the profits, really appealed to me. Before I made the switch to The Co-operative Energy I never really took a good look at my energy bills or the tariff I was on, I just assumed I was paying the standard price for gas and electricity and left it at that. Seeing the amount of money I could save by switching was a real eye opener.
Once I’d made up my mind, the switch process was completely hassle free and the customer service was second to none, everyone was so friendly and helpful.’
The Co-operative Energy is committed to providing its customers with a fair and honest deal. It offers a clear pricing structure and single unit price regardless of consumption. It also challenges the big profits the energy retailers are making by including a profit sharing deal for all The Co-operative Energy customers, which pays out twice a year.
Jim Pettipher from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire wanted something more from his energy supplier. He said he had become disillusioned with ‘lining the pockets of the more established energy firms.’
As a Co-operative member, Jim spotted the new service from The Co-operative Energy and he decided to investigate further. A self-confessed co-operative enthusiast, Jim found The Co-operative Energy reflected his ethical viewpoint as well as saving him money.
Jim says ‘I’m a big fan of all things Co-operative. I shop in the local Co-operative Food and all my insurance is with them too. When I saw they were branching into the energy market I was keen to find out more. Having done my research I found I could make an annual saving by switching to The Co-operative Energy as well as benefiting from a share in the company profits, something you’d never get with the larger, more established firms.
I particularly like the fact that the company is run for our benefit and that in essence we own part of the business. This makes the prospect of paying a gas or electricity bill much more palatable.
I try to be as energy efficient as possible but it’s also nice to know your energy provider practices what it preaches. I was particularly impressed with The Co-operative Energy’s pledge to use renewable sources – it shows they actually care about what they’re doing.’
The Co-operative Energy will source electricity from low carbon including renewable energy generators like wind and hydro and the aim is for the carbon content of their electricity to be less than half the national average by April 2012.
Jim concluded ‘the value of knowing how much I’m paying and where that money is going can’t be overestimated.”
Dr Tony Jeans
Tony was inspired by the opening of a new Co-operative Food store in Cheltenham and decided to join the family and become a member. After spotting that The Co-operative provided energy, Tony and his wife decided to see if they could save any money by switching. They enquired with The Co-operative Energy and were delighted when they found they could make a significant savings on their annual energy costs.
Tony explains ‘we live in an old grade two listed property and because of its age we are fairly restricted in what we can do to make it as energy efficient as possible. We have invested in energy saving light bulbs and made a concerted effort to conserve energy where possible but in a house of this age it can be difficult to make dramatic savings.
Having recently joined The Co-operative we were keen to find out more about The Co-operative Energy and whether we could save money and hassle by switching.
Our previous energy provider had a very erratic billing system so we never really knew how much we were paying or what our tariff actually was. The beauty of The Co-operative Energy is we know exactly what we are being billed, allowing us to budget accordingly and get a clear understanding of the energy we are consuming. Over the course of the year we stand to make at least a 20% saving on our annual energy bill.’
At The Co-operative Energy we are committed to providing our customers with a fair and honest deal, offering a clear pricing structure and single unit price regardless of consumption. We are also challenging the big profits of the established energy suppliers by including a profit sharing deal for all Co-operative Energy customers that pays out twice a year.
Tony concludes ‘I’ve always liked The Co-operative ethos – giving customers a voice and a say in how the business operates. The switch to The Co-operative Energy was pain-free and simple and we are really looking forward to seeing the savings we can make.’