Co-op plans to supply energy

The Co-op is the latest food retailer to consider selling gas and electricity alongside groceries in its nationwide network of stores.

The Co-op is the latest food retailer to consider selling gas and

electricity alongside groceries in its nationwide network of stores.

Discussions are taking place at the Co-operative Wholesale Society, the

Co-op movement’s single largest group with 700 stores, on the

introduction of a service by the end of the year.

If the CWS goes ahead with the plans, it will be the last of the big

retailers to recognise customer demand for services to be offered

alongside their normal shopping requirements.

A CWS spokesman said: ’We are definitely looking into it. As yet, no

hard and fast decision has been taken. If it were to go ahead then it

would probably take place within the retail framework.’

From April 1 the supply monopolies controlling the domestic markets will

be opened up to competition, allowing companies such as Sainsbury’s and

Tesco to sell these energy forms.

Retailers would be able to shop around to obtain the best deal on


Supplies would arrive at the consumer’s home in the usual way but

charging would be made by the supplying source to the retailer, which

would then bill the customer.

The sale of gas and electricity is a further example of the big

supermarket chains extending their offer into new areas. Last year saw

the launch of financial and travel services by supermarket groups.

Watchdog Ofgas estimates that a number of new players will enter the

market. The first phase of the new scheme, which took place in the south

using the nine new gas companies, saved customers pounds 70 a year on

the average gas bill, claimed Ofgas.


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