Co-operative energy win Which? Big Switch

(updated 6/6/2012) Reports this morning (11/5/2012) show that the Which? Big Switch Auction has been won by Co-operative Energy.  Which? has also announced that more than 36,000 people made a collective switch to Co-operative energy.

thePeoplesPower sends our congratulations for the first successful(?) large scale collective energy switch (we know about) in the UK.

It seems that Co-operative energy created a new tariff to win the auction and has put a limit of 30,000 new customers to their offer (just before the offer closed the offer deadline was extended and the Co-operative energy limit was increased by 10,000 and the . (We think this will potentially more than their customer base).  The other 250,000 Big Switch subscribers will be offered the EDF Blue + price promise deal – a deal that is already available on the market.

A few more figures on the Which? switch

  • over 150,000 people sent in their tariff and usage information coming from a staggering 1435 different tariffs
  • selecting the winner was problematic – Which? opted to select based on an annual dual fuel tariff, cheapest at typical usage and mean regional average price with no discrimination against particular customer groups.

Which? says 5 companies participated in the auction Co-operative Energy, EDF, E.on, Scottish Power and First Utility.

Comments on what the deal means for thePeoplesPower

Firstly, it’s great news for consumers that the first collective switch has been completed. We hope that the media and consumer organisations will help spread the potential benefits of collective switching beyond the “switching classes” bringing lower tariffs to people suffering from fuel poverty and financial exclusion.  Most of the coverage on the Which deal seems to have focused on the fact that the deal is not massively cheaper and is only available to 10% of Which? subscribers. The media seem to have delighted in building up the impressive numbers Which were recruiting … but now there seems to be equal delight in “bashing” them.

See below for why the factors people criticise Which? for should not be so significant for us.

Note: thePeoplesPower is running not for profit collective energy switch on a smaller scale than Which? and plan to create offers that are  available to all our subscribers.  We have placed an emphasis on being transparent about fees and are targetting people in fuel poverty :

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  • no obligation
  • no risk
  • not-for-profit

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  • By keeping the numbers small and capping it at 20,000 per switch, ensures all energy companies can participate, big and small. In this way the problem of an uncompetitive market place isn’t compounded. On a practical level, having a cap also avoids switching chaos- even a huge energy company would struggle to smoothly switch 50,000+ people in one go.
  • Our £2 referral fee, charged to the successful supplier, is designed to maximise potential savings for consumers
  • thePeoplesPower is currently talking to a number of energy suppliers about our collective switch
  • not for profit, community focussed with surplus funds earmarked for community energy projects
  • focused on incorporating households which have never switched their supplier before and preventing fuel poverty
  • (If you are an energy supplier and are not in contact with us, please get in touch)

Current community partners include

Bolton Community Homes – 7 Housing Associations serving 25,000 households
Grand Union Housing – 3 Housing Associations serving 10,000 households

see Housing associations sign up to stop fuel poverty

Other comments on the story

More than 36,000 people make the Big Switch (opens in a new window)

Which? Big Switch Press release (opens in a new window)

Utility Week Comment on the Big Switch (opens in a new window)

(Ebico) Done badly collective switching will increase fuel poverty (opens in a new window) – Note the criticism of the Big Switch in Phil Levermore’s (Ebico MD) blog does not apply to thePeoplesPower!

Does Coop deal look tempting in the Independent (opens in a new window)

Make your own small switch – critique from the Telegraph (opens in a new window)

A critique of Big Switch from the Guardian (opens in a new window)

Cooperative Energy win Big Switch Press release (opens in a new window)

Only 10% in the ‘Big Switch’ are offered best energy deal – and it’s not even the cheapest on the market from the Daily Mail (opens in a new window)

FT says Big switch tariff not the cheapest (opens in a new window)

Which conversation on Big Switch results – lots of commenting here (opens in a new window)

38 Degrees blog on Big switch results, possibly with even more comments (opens in a new window)

Categories: Blog, Cheapest energy and Uncategorized.