The History of The Energy Co-op

Community Powered Since 1979

The Energy Co-op's history is built on the strong desire for affordable, renewable energy options in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It's a story of ideas, perseverance and local impact.

Started by the Weaver's Way Food Co-op in 1979, The Co-op has been serving the Philadelphia area for 35+ years.

It all began in 1979 in the West Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Board of Directors of Weavers Way Food Co-op embarked upon a new community venture that sought to lower the price per gallon of heating oil by leveraging the buying power of its membership with area oil dealers. Participation in the oil program grew year after year, eventually resulting in a new organization - The Energy Co-op.

Over the course of a decade, The Co-op expanded its geographic footprint to the four Pennsylvania counties surrounding Philadelphia, and by the late 1990s, The Co-op's Board of Directors decided to extend its energy offerings to include electricity. Shortly thereafter, EcoChoice100 and the award-winning Solar Buyback Program were introduced to PECO-area households at a time when no other alternative electricity supplier was offering a renewable option.

By the early 2000s The Co-op had received numerous accolades for pioneering the development of innovative, renewable energy products.  With a loyal membership and a desire to push the boundaries, The Co-op once again set out on a new mission -- to produce biodiesel derived from waste grease. With assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture, Co-op staff spent many years researching and testing biodiesel derived from trap grease at a small pilot plant facility in Northeast Philadelphia. In 2005 BlackGold Biofuels (formerly known as Philadelphia Fry-O-Diesel) was formed and later spun-off as a separate entity in 2007.

Meanwhile, The Co-op developed Southeastern Pennsylvania's largest biodiesel distribution business, which has allowed major area fleet vehicles to seamlessly transition to biodiesel without modification, while pioneering the availability of Bioheat® heating oil, a renewable heating oil alternative, at affordable prices.

Presently, The Energy Co-op maintains three energy product offerings to its members: Electricity, Heating Oil and Biodiesel. The organization is the proud past recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Leadership Award, Penn Future's Green Supplier and Biodiesel Service Awards, as well as four consecutive years of placing on the Philadelphia Business Journal's Largest Energy Suppliers & Brokers Award.

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The Co-op

Did You Know?

The first co-op on record was formed in 1761 in Fenwick, Scotland. It began when local weavers took a sack of oatmeal and began selling the contents at a discount, forming the Fenwick Weavers' Society.

However, credit for the modern cooperative structure and the cooperative movement is given to The Rochdale Pioneers, who started a food cooperative in 1844 with just four items for sale: flour, oatmeal, sugar and butter.

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