Why choose a cooperative for your energy needs?

By Morgan Pitts 12/20/2018

The Energy Co-op was founded to leverage the power of community to buy energy differently. Originally, this meant forming a “consumer’s union” wherein heating oil consumers negotiated with oil suppliers as a group. An individual consumer has little leverage over energy suppliers or ability to negotiate. By forming a cooperative, the founders of The Energy Co-op were able to use the power of their community to get reliable, transparent pricing on heating oil and to avoid predatory practices.

Fast forward to today and The Energy Co-op has grown and added new services, specifically, renewable electricity and renewable natural gas. In many respects, we function like any other renewable electricity or gas supplier. But, unlike any other energy supplier in the Delaware Valley, we are a cooperatively-governed organization. We don’t have shareholders and exist purely to serve our membership.

This means that when you sign up to receive clean electricity, renewable natural gas, or home heating oil from The Energy Co-op, you become a member-owner. You have the right to know how the organization operates and a say in that operation every year at our Annual Member Meeting (AMM), held in the spring.

Between AMMs, members (defined as anyone who has utilized at least one of the Co-op’s services within the past year) are welcome to schedule an appointment to visit the Co-op’s offices (conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia), meet with staff, and view the organization’s records. (You’re also welcome to just drop by, but appointments are appreciated!)

If you want to know more about the rates you’re paying for clean electricity or renewable natural gas, take a deep dive into how the Co-op is sourcing energy or learn more about the specific supply agreement between the Co-op and the oil supplier keeping your house warm this winter, you’re welcome to do so.

This is a degree of transparency that no other energy supplier allows their customers, and it is what makes the Co-op unique. To many in the energy industry, it would be revolutionary. To us, it’s just how we do business.

If you want to know about how we are incorporated and governed, check out our bylaws here.