- How can I determine whether Co-op Energy’s Community Power tariff is cheaper than my current tariff?
You can get a quote for the Community Power Tariff (CPT) at https://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/our-tariffs/The CPT is cheaper than most other comparable tariffs (i.e. those 100% backed by power purchase agreements with renewable generators) but it is not the cheapest tariff available. For an average household, it typically costs around £60 a year more than the Co-op Energy (and Octopus) 12 month fixed rate.However, it is the only tariff available that offers not just 100% renewable electricity but 100% renewable electricity from community generators (including Westmill) so it’s a similar situation to choosing to pay a bit extra for organic products.Our (and Co-op Energy’s) aim is that the tariff should offer consistent fair value and the trading dividend is one way in which Westmill can help bridge the price differential. Members may decide to increase the amount of the dividend but we also hope that Co-op Energy will offer some kind of matching ‘loyalty’ discount in future and that the trading dividend proposal will be taken up by other community generators so that households who are ‘serial’ investors in these projects can accumulate a larger overall discount.
- What implication does the trading dividend have on my share interest payment?
There is clearly a cost involved in the trading dividend that will reduce the overall surpluses available but both Boards believe that it is appropriate to reward members not just for their capital contribution but also for using the electricity that we generate. If all Westmill Wind members received a £15 trading dividend in 2021, the total cost would be around £32,715 – compared to a total amount of member interest paid in 2020 of over £258,238.
- Other than possible savings, is there any other benefit or incentive to switch if already with a green/renewable energy supplier?
We believe the CPT is the only nationwide tariff available that can offer not just 100% renewable electricity but 100% renewable electricity from Westmill and other community generators. In due course we expect the tariff to offer additional features (eg a special tariff for electric car owners) that will help members and other customers use their energy more efficiently and reduce their overall consumption.
- What is the difference between Co-op Energy and Octopus Energy?
Co-op Energy is a ‘white label’ supplier, ie it offers its own tariffs but all billing and customer services are handled on their behalf by Octopus Energy. The CPT is exclusive to Co-op Energy so if you are a customer of Octopus (or of Co-op Energy but on a different tariff) you will need to switch to the CPT to be eligible for the trading dividend.
- Does the Community Power Tariff offer a “Dual Fuel” package?
Yes, although members only need to buy electricity under the CPT to be eligible for the trading dividend. All gas purchased under the CPT is carbon neutral – the carbon footprint of the gas used is offset through renewable energy projects built in fuel-poor communities worldwide by Renewable World, a charity based in Brighton.
- Can I switch from ANY existing tariff I am on?
Yes, but please note that some tariffs (especially ones offering a fixed rate) charge a fee for switching away before the end of the fixed period. Existing Co-op Energy or Octopus customers can switch to the Community Power Tariff without charge.
- How does Westmill Wind and Westmill Solar intend to pay this dividend to those who switch to the CPT?
The trading dividend will be paid as a credit on your household electricity bill around July/August each year after the Westmill AGM’s have been held. This process helps keep the administrative costs of the trading dividend as low as possible.
- What are the possible long-term costs to switching to this tariff?
Apart from changes to the tariff rates, the Boards do not anticipate any long-term costs. We hope that Co-op Energy will offer some kind of matching ‘loyalty’ discount in future to members who remain on the CPT. As the CPT is a variable rate tariff, it is possible to switch away from it without payment of any exit charges to Co-op Energy so (apart from eligibility for the trading dividend) members are not ‘tied’ to this tariff.
- What are the implications of switching if I have my own solar panels?
None, you are not obliged to change your Feed-in Tariff (FIT) provider when you switch suppliers. Octopus Energy do operate their own FIT scheme (which is available to Co-op Energy customers) if you would like to move this across as well.
- Can the trading dividend be linked to other tariffs?
The trading dividend is deliberately linked only to the CPT as this is the only tariff that offers not just 100% renewable electricity but 100% renewable electricity from Westmill and other community generators. In due course we expect the tariff to offer additional features (eg a special tariff for electric car owners) that will help members and other customers use their energy more efficiently and reduce their overall consumption.
- Can anyone, anywhere switch to the Community Power Tariff?
The CPT is not limited to members who live locally to Westmill and is available to customers and members across England, Wales and Scotland (but not Northern Ireland which has its own grid/energy infrastructure).
- Are smart meters included?
The CPT will work on a ‘traditional’ or ‘smart’ meter. You can apply to have a smart meter installed (free of charge) if you switch to the CPT.
- Can the tariff be applied to an organisation building?
Unfortunately, Co-op Energy tariffs (including the CPT) are only available to domestic customers so we don’t think this will be possible, at least not initially.