The Co-operative launches its new energy business today, and it’s making lots of noise about how different it will be to the ‘Big Six’. So can it really excel where the others have failed – and would you consider switching?
Imagine that the energy market is one big party. In the kitchen, you’ll find the Big Six energy suppliers. The smaller suppliers try to squeeze through to grab the odd bit of food, but in reality it’s very difficult to muscle past.
Occasionally the government will try to keep the big suppliers in check by saying ‘you must share!’, but really the Big Six stay firmly in the kitchen and have a great old time. Nothing changes. Except when someone new turns up.
A new chapter for energy suppliers?
Now you must excuse me for going on about parties. My two children have birthdays within the next two weeks so I’m obsessed with planning birthday celebrations. But when Co-op announced it was becoming a new energy provider, its message to the Big Six was clear – stop hogging the party!
The Co-op’s new energy business launch will certainly be music to some consumers’ ears. It will be different to the other big suppliers, it says. It will have one simple price and no confusing tariffs.
Its press release says that it has thrown down the gauntlet to the Big Six. It has told the rest of the industry to play fair and it’s saying that this sector needs a radical shake up. It’s also saying it wants to be environmentally friendly, ethical and it will be owned by its members (or customers).
Come on Co-op, ruin the party
I’m sure that the rest of industry will be watching with interest. Some will be grumbling that if Co-operative Energy grows big enough it will probably just resort to the same tactics as the other big suppliers who regularly deliver poor results in our customer satisfaction surveys.
So that’s why Which? has issued a challenge to the Co-operative: Welcome to the party Co-op, and our challenge to you is to prove you’re different and shake up this market. Go ahead and be a party pooper and get in that kitchen to help energy customers get a better deal.