In a move that marks an industry first, U.K.-based Co-operative Energy is inviting its customers to fully engage in the energy generation process by choosing where their electricity is sourced. Co-operative News published this release:
Customers who opt for Co-operative Energy as their provider will from now on have the chance to choose how and where their electricity is bought from.
The new scheme, called User Chooser, was designed to empower customers to have a say in the exact mix of the different types of energy sources and the precise generators where their energy is generated.
Ramsay Dunning, group general manager, said, “We are committed to empowering our customers by giving them choices of how and where we buy their energy. As a customer-owned business it is absolutely right that the customer should dictate where the energy we buy comes from.”
He explained that customers would be able to decide to have their electricity bought from their local school’s solar project, a community wind farm or a large-scale hydro scheme in Scotland.
User Chooser is an industry first which, according to Mr Dunning, also falls in line with the government’s 2050 energy roadmap, by allowing the consumer to get involved and fully engaged in the energy generation process.
“We have always been at the forefront of sourcing power from community energy providers. However, we realize they need our continued support, so by giving our customers the choice as to the types of energy that we buy, we can also help and encourage these schemes.
“Only by giving customers this option will we strengthen the development of clean energy for the future. Today’s initiative will see us becoming a hub for all the different community energy schemes that we support – just another way in which Co-operative Energy is supporting these types of projects with pride and tenacity.”
Once customers express their preferences through the User Chooser scheme, Co-operative Energy will buy enough units from each source to match their choices.
Co-operative Energy has power purchase agreement with around 30 generators, 15 of which are community-owned. Among these are different types of renewable generators, including community-owned wind farms at Harlock Hill in Cumbria, Westmill in Oxfordshire and Great Dunkilns in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Customers will not have to pay any additional cost for the User Chooser scheme.
Dunning added, “This isn’t the panacea, but it is another step in the right direction. We need to accelerate the development of a clean energy future. That’s why Co-operative Energy has pledged to buy its electricity from low carbon sources such as renewable energy. Taking this initiative will help our customers make an informed choice about where we buy our electricity from and how it is generated.
“We are giving our energy customers a democratic influence over the way energy is bought now and in the future. Only by doing this will we help to ensure the energy market remains fair and competitive,” he said.