Co-operative Energy has won the EU Sustainable Energy Europe Award for its User Chooser initiative designed to empower customers. The project allows energy customers to select the type of energy they prefer and choose a specific site from which their energy will be sourced. In this was the customer is fully engaged in the energy generation process.
With a customer based of 250,000 households, Co-operative Energy produces 68% of its energy from renewable sources. It is also the only energy supplier in Europe to offer this option.
Commenting on the award, Ramsay Dunning, general manager at Co-operative Energy, said that customers faced a limited choice in the type of energy they can buy. Only 17% of electricity produced in the UK comes from renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar.
“This is totally unacceptable,” he said. “The International Energy Agency now predicts that renewable energy is set to overtake coal and become the world’s number one electricity source by 2030 if countries keep their climate change pledges.”
Mr Dunning also called on the Big Six energy providers to give customers choice in how their energy is produced.
He added: “But here in the UK customers are prevented from doing their bit for the environment because the Big Six are acting like a bunch of ostriches. They have their heads in the sand and aren’t listening to customers.
Co-operative Energy is owned by the Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent co-operative society.
“We are at the dawn of a new energy era,” Mr Dunning continued. “According to the IEA, global emissions could peak as early as 2020 but it is clear that too many UK suppliers are still not offering customers enough choice in the type of energy they use because they’re stuck with legacy fossil fuel contracts.”
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for climate action and energy, also said: “Today’s consumers are not passive. They care about what they buy – they want to know where it comes from, what it’s made of, who made it, and whether it’s good for them and good for the planet. The energy consumer is as active as the high street shopper checking the product label or ‘best before’ date. We need to support them to make sustainable choices.”
The awards marked the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2015, which takes on 15-19 June 2015.