A new venture: Co-operative Energy

There are a number of  co-operative renewable energy ventures – the largest solar array on the CIS tower, hydro and wind power – see refs in Celebrating the Co-operative Movement [pages:17-22] by Paul Gosling, with foreword by Jonathon Porritt and Endnote by Rianne ten Veen. 

New Mills Hydro had a Cooperative Fund grant and powers a nearby Co-op store

To these can be added the good news about a new regional energy co-operative – sent by Andrew Lydon of the West Midlands New Economics Group. 

Co-operative Energy was founded by the Midcounties Co-operative and Phil Beardmore, Environmental Consultant, writes: 

“I was at the launch event [May 10th] on behalf of the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, which is forming a partnership with Co-op Energy.” 

It is reported on their website that Co-operative Energy has challenged the industry to stamp out sharp practice and give all customers a fair and honest deal. 

The new energy provider has described the “big six” utility retailers’ multi-tariff offerings as “baffling and bewildering” and has promised to champion a fairer deal for customers through its new, simple tariff and single unit price. 

Co-operative Energy is also challenging the big profits the energy retailers are making by including a twice-yearly profit sharing deal for all Co-operative Energy customers, who own the business. 

They have promised not to hard-sell customers, there will be no exit penalties for switching customers and they won’t lock people into fixed-price contracts. 

They will source electricity from low carbon generators, including renewable energy generators like wind and hydro. The aim is for the carbon content of their electricity to be less than half the national average by April 2012. 

Phil explains that Ofgem have assisted the co-op through the registration process and adds that he has transferred his gas and electricity accounts to them.

Co-operative Energy aims to ensure that the carbon content of their electricity is less than half the national average by April 2012. 

They are undertaking pilot research renewable energy projects and focussing on energy conservation in their buildings. More on this subject can be read on their site. 

100% green electricity, from wind, solar, and small hydro sources is used in all of their trading sites in order to support the development of renewable energy.

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They add: 

With no shareholders to please, you can be sure that the decisions we make are in your best interests. Becoming a member means that you will share in our profits and get your voice heard. 

We hope so; a failing of the larger co-operatives has been minimal members’ participation in decision-making and having no mechanism for bringing management to account for their actions – a lack of democracy, as the next post points out.

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