Co-op Energy will ‘only see long-term benefits’ from new customers

EXCLUSIVE: Co-operative Energy will not benefit from taking on GB Energy Supply’s customers in the short-term, but the “vast majority” will stay with the supplier.

The group’s general manager also told Utility Week that the firm was “very, very well set-up” to manage the influx of customers.

Co-operative will take on all of GB Energy Supply’s customers after the firm ceased trading last month due to rising wholesale prices.

Co-operative Energy group general manager Ramsay Dunning said: “In the short-term the move won’t benefit co-operative energy, in the long-term we think the vast majority of those customers will choose to stay with us – not all, but the vast majority.

“The majority of GB Energy customers left the big six to go to an independent supplier where they got a better deal, and in staying with Co-operative energy they will still get a better deal. At the moment, some of the best deals are with co-operative energy, so why would they move away?”

Last year the supplier ranked worst for customer service of 19 of the UK’s largest energy suppliers, according to figures from Citizens Advice. The figures showed that Co-operative Energy had the highest customer complaint ratio ever recorded by Citizens Advice with 1,584 complaints per 100,000 customers for July to September 2015. The firm blamed a new billing and customer service system which was introduced earlier in 2015.

Despite their customer service issues, Dunning said: “We are very, very well set up to deal with this influx of customers. The reason we did have issues with customer service is because we chose to invest in all of our systems and to give ourselves the capability that would ultimately enable us to serve customers better than anybody else.”

“The new system implementation didn’t go quite according to plan… But investment in systems, together with the investment in people and experience that our people have had over the past 18 months, does put us in a very, very strong position,” he added.

Co-operative Energy reached an agreement with Ofgem to offer GB Energy Supply’s customers the same price as they were paying before. The supplier will also honour all outstanding credit balances and staff from the bust firm will continue their employment by transferring on the same terms to Co-operative Energy.