Midcounties Co-op bring power to the people

Britain’s first energy supplier owned by its members has been rolled-out in a testing phase, with a full launch expected next month.

The Co-operative Energy, part of Midcounties Co-operative, has started switching a select number of its employees during a standard probationary period overseen by energy regulators. A few hundred early adopters, who expressed interest in joining the supplier through its website, are also set to switch in the run-up towards the March launch of the service.

In an effort to be different from other suppliers, The Co-operative Energy has said it will offer just one price instead of the numerous complex tariffs offered by other companies. The Pioneer tariff — named after the original co-operative entrepreneurs, the Rochdale Pioneers — offers a long-term price guarantee, no hidden costs, the same price for each unit of energy used and will not impose exit penalties.

In-line with the Movement’s ethical credentials, the energy will also be low carbon with purchases favoured from renewable and other low carbon generators, including nuclear. Co-operative Energy has also promised that electricity will be green by making sure its carbon content will be less than half the national average by April 2012.

Ben Reid, Chief Executive of Midcounties, told the News: “The proposition has been very well received by the few hundred householders who have registered an interest and been invited to sign up early.”

Mr Reid said the society’s energy arm is “on track” for a national launch in the spring, but the precise timing depends on the business completing the standard ‘probationary period’ with energy industry regulators. 

He added: “We are launching to Midcounties colleagues and plan to launch in a controlled way to Midcounties members by early March.”

The division will be overseen by Alan Miller, Group General Manager, whose executive responsibilites also include Membership Services, among other areas.

After joining Co-operative Energy, if customers wish to receive a dividend they must be a member of Midcounties, or an affiliate society through The Co-operative Membership scheme. Like all other society businesses, the dividend will be based on the performance of the society as a whole, though energy customers can receive bonus points by sending regular meter readings and introducing friends to the service.

• For more details visit: www.goodwithenergy.coop.

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