Opinion: Why the Phone Co-op and Co-operative Energy make perfect partners

Co-op Energy CEO David Bird on why he supports the Phone Co-op's transfer of engagements to Midcounties

One of the many reasons I chose to work for Co-operative Energy, part of the Midcounties Co-operative, is that they are a commercially successful, sustainable and values driven business.

That is why the proposal to merge with the Phone Co-op is so exciting for me as they clearly share our view of the world as we would like it to be. Co-operative Energy is the largest member-owned energy business, and the addition of the Phone Co-op will allow us develop a new co-operative utilities provider, offering both energy and phone communications.

In 2011 we started Co-operative Energy because we wanted to create an ethical energy provider and it’s pleasing to be able to claim that today all our tariffs come with 100% renewable electricity as standard. The Phone Co-op is also an ethical telecommunications provider offering broadband, phone and mobile services to residential and business customers, a perfect fit.

Like us they are a proper co-operative with members at their heart – and like us they are a co-operative business with a focus on serving their local communities at their core. So we believe it promises to be a great partnership.

The Phone Co-op already provides some line rental, outbound calls and non-geographic number services for the Midcounties Co-operative food stores, travel agencies, childcare sites, pharmacies, funeral homes, post offices and offices. This means the new partnership with Co-operative Energy will build on an existing successful business relationship.

Joining with the Phone Coop will allow us to add broadband, phone and mobile services to our existing gas and electricity portfolio. Looking ahead I want to go even further and develop Co-op Water so we can provide a complete range of co-operative services to our members and customers.

The Phone Co-op has bold plans to develop into the business to business market. Co-op Energy shares this ambition. The merged business will be able to offer a wider range of services to businesses that value trading with an ethical partner and, with Midcounties as the parent, we believe we can give confidence that we are a viable alternative to our major competitors.

It is clear therefore that by merging with the Phone Co-op we will have the opportunity to create an ethical co-operative utility provider of scale that has the ability to thrive and prove that our co-operative model is just a better way of doing business.

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