Midcounties Co-operative Energy (Co-op Energy) and Octopus Energy have announced a new partnership. The deal struck between Octopus and Co-op Energy will see the former acquire 300,000 more customers, with Co-op Energy retaining the brand.
As part of the deal, the Co-op Energy brand will be retained and Octopus will take on ownership and responsibility for the management and supply of energy to the 300,000 plus customers currently supplied by Co-op Energy, Flow and GB Energy. The Midcounties Co-operative will retain responsibility for acquiring new customers under the Co-op Energy brand as part of its wider utilities strategy, which now includes telecoms in addition to electricity and gas supply. Customers of GB Energy and Flow will now become Octopus Energy customers.
The deal, completed for an undisclosed sum, counts as the fourth significant transaction for Octopus in the last year, which – following this new deal – has seen its customer base triple from 300,000 to well over a million during that time. All existing and new customers will be managed under Octopus’ proprietary tech platform Kraken and will experience the same or lower prices as a result of the transaction. All will receive the same award-winning service as Octopus’s existing customers despite this fast growth, thanks to Octopus’ proven scalability.
The partnership will also see the creation of a joint venture between the two organisations to develop the community-generated energy market in the UK. Co-op Energy is already the UK’s largest buyer of community-generated energy and Octopus was the first supplier to launch a smart export guarantee tariff under the Government’s new approach to renewable energy.
The joint venture will invest in projects, provide practical support to community groups and increase the volume of energy purchased from community schemes; encouraging more small-scale generation across the UK.
Commenting on the deal, Midcounties Co-operative Chief Executive Officer, Phil Ponsonby, said “The Midcounties Board is extremely proud of what has been achieved by our energy business since we entered a market dominated by just a few energy companies back in 2011. At that time 99% of supply came from the Big Six and there were fewer than 12 companies in the market. Today there are over 70 and we firmly believe that we disrupted the market and played our part in reducing the dominance of the big players by providing fair prices, supplying 100% green electricity and supporting community energy projects all across the UK.”
“The market is now more competitive than ever, and it is clear to us that having the best technology is absolutely critical to delivering the best service to customers while maintaining a sustainable business for the longer term. Octopus have developed what we consider to be the most innovative and customer focussed technology anywhere in the industry today. But it isn’t just about technology, one of our strategic objectives is to make our members lives easier and our Board was insistent that in looking for a partner, we found an organisation that shared our values, put customers, colleagues and the environment at the heart of what they do. Octopus firmly meet these requirements and we are delighted to be partnering with them.”
Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, said “This acquisition and our ongoing partnership with Midcounties is another step on the road to improving the domestic energy market for good. Our renewable energy supply and outstanding technology is now delivering award winning service to over a million homes in the UK with 100% green electricity as standard. Co-op is one of the most well-respected British brands and we’re delighted to be working with them alongside our other cherished partners.”
“I am also very excited about our joint venture for Community energy. We have been hugely impressed by Co-op Energy’s achievement in this area and we believe that together we can help even more people from across the UK to come together in developing new sources of sustainable power.”
Commenting on the partnership Peter Earl, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said “Is it any wonder consumers are baffled by the complexity of the UK’s energy market? Under this partnership, Co-operative Energy customers will see the management and supply of their energy change to Octopus Energy – a different company entirely – yet Co-operative Energy will maintain its brand and continue to sell energy. The potential for confusion amongst consumers is real.”
“Only three years ago, GB Energy customers were moved to become customers of Co-operative Energy as a result of GB Energy ceasing to trade. At a minimum, consumers deserve clarity on who is supplying their energy, and not to be unsure who to contact for customer support. The rise of start-up, challenger energy suppliers provides consumers with greater choice beyond the Big Six, and healthy competition typically leads to customers securing the best value tariffs. Whether this partnership aids competition in the market or inhibits it, however, remains to be seen. We would advise all households that the most effective way to secure a good deal on their energy tariff is to shop around and switch providers regularly.”