Energy co-operatives on the up

New figures released today showed that more UK energy firms are joining forces to better business. Co-operative UK, the trade body for joint venture enterprises say that member-owned energy organisations […]

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By Tom Gibson

New figures released today showed that more UK energy firms are joining forces to better business. Co-operative UK, the trade body for joint venture enterprises say that member-owned energy organisations are the fastest growth area for co-operative businesses in the UK, with a 24% rise over the last four years.

Ed Mayo, General Secretary of Co-operative UK said: “The co-operative model is a perfect antidote to current energy practices – co-operatives put their members in control of where profits go whether that is back to members, back to the community or to invest in viable green energy projects.”

Co-operative businesses are owned and run by and for their members, whether they are customers, employees or residents. Co-operatives are a flexible alternative business model. They can be set up in different ways, using different legal structures, depending on what works for the members.

Nigel Mason at Co-operative Energy said: “Co-operatives empower people and result in tangible improvements to people’s lives and energy is one example of where joint action makes more sense than isolation. Consumers are coming together as co-operatives to tackle energy sourcing, and supplies as they seek have share and control. We started Co-operative Energy to challenge the major energy suppliers to treat consumers fairly, bringing co-operative values to a mistrusted sector.”

Ed Mayo said Co-ops could threaten the dominance of the big suppliers: “The big six energy companies are still the giants in the market, but grassroots co-operatives are now organising under their feet.”