38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops

On their ‘Big Switch’ energy campaign, 38 Degrees should think a little more about how they add “sustainable” to their aspiration for “change”.

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“Once we’ve driven the hardest bargain possible, we switch to the [energy] supplier offering the best deal.” – 38 Degrees this morning.

38 Degrees have successfully pulled more than 200,000 people together to take on the energy companies and are then going to form a bidding group that gets the lowest price, an attempt to get price competition in an oligopoly. (I wish them luck and hope the energy oligopoly will so hand them a PR coup).

Energy-rip-offThat the number signed up dwarfs the membership of any of the major political parties speaks more about the unrecognised opportunity in new media than the “failure of political parties”.

But, as we’re talking angles, the follow-on point is to wonder what values are expressed in this action. Each political party brings with it its own values, but the only value being expressed in 38 Degrees’ quest is price.

What about sustainability of the provider both in narrow terms of what it does to the environment, and more in broader terms of how it reinvests in its community? At what point did 38 Degrees decide to not create a co-operative?

It’s an old debate between consumerism and co-operatives, but one worth reviving. Co-operators live their values: the ethics of a co-operative owning enterprise is as important as getting the best price in a competitive market.

At this point the cry might be, well where’s the Co-op movement’s answer to the energy oligopoly? If you don’t know, then you need to get out of London more often.

The Midcounties Co-operative has been running a very effective energy co-op called Co-operative Energy, growing it through regional ads. It gained its 200,000th customer this month.

What is perhaps ironic is that while 38 Degrees is going to “work with consumer experts at Which? to negotiate cheaper rates on our behalf”, no-one thought to mention that Co-operative Energy won last year’s Which? Consumer Action award.

 


See also:

We need more community and co-operative ownership of energy 13 Mar 2012

Let’s end the tyranny of the big six energy companies 17 Oct 2011

Outrage at 733 per cent rise in energy companies’ profits 14 Oct 2011

Government needs to take on the energy companies to bring down prices 17 Aug 2011

Misselling is only the beginning of the energy companies’ sins 25 Jul 2011


 

38 Degrees’ tagline is power, people, change. After their data harvesting from saving forests and campaigning more effectively on the NHS than anyone else one cannot deny that they have the first two.

But I’d like to see them think a little more about how they add “sustainable” to their aspiration for “change”.

 


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11 Responses to “38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops”

  1. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : 38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops //t.co/fMXVMHG4

  2. Vaikunthanath Kavira

    #UK : 38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops //t.co/fMXVMHG4

  3. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – 38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops //t.co/JvsjlMar

  4. BevR

    38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops //t.co/yQHG0Uyl #saveournhs #GPs #wrb #democracybroken #corruption

  5. Anonymous

    Bypassing the government because the government is impotent. It shows that the government is the problem and not the solution.

    There should be more groups like this. More coops. More companies. ie. People getting together in their self interest, and without the need to exploit others in the process. ie. No coercion.

  6. Cormac Hollingsworth

    Why didn't @38_Degrees make their energy bid a #coop? //t.co/7RtRdtUV

  7. Martin Steel

    .@38_degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops, writes @CormacHolly: //t.co/E5y5W5w5 #BigSwitch

  8. Planitbetta

    Kill two birds with one stone – move away from the big six and promote cleaner, greener energy: //www.ecotricity.co.uk/news/news-archive/2012/which-big-switch-misses-the-mark

  9. Anonymous

    The TORY Government is most certainly the problem, since they can’t fix things.
    This reflects about as much on government in general as you reflect on a screen door.

  10. Janet Warren

    I think this is all about money. Which are taking £40 referral fee – Are 38 degrees getting a cut of this too? – hence they aren’t interested in working with co-operatives – in fact the design of this seems to be to exclude all the smaller energy companies – how can a company with 200,000 subscribers double overnight?

    Guardian did a good article on this
    //www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/mar/23/which-big-energy-ecotricity

    Can’t see how anyone except the big six will be able to deal with big switch numbers – this makes a mockery of all the anti big 6 campaigns from Which and 38 degrees

  11. RAMSAY DUNNING

    RT @leftfootfwd: 38 Degrees’ energy campaign will be half baked without co-ops //t.co/8vimlsou

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