Newly appointed Co-op Power managing director calls for co-operation to re-build the energy sector

The newly appointed managing director of Co-op Power, Scott Etherington, has called for more co-operation to re-build the energy sector. Etherington replaces David Roberts as head of the largest energy buying group in the country, boasting over 70 members and over £200m of buying power per year.

Etherington’s appointment comes as the energy market is experiencing a global escalation of gas and electricity prices. Gas levels in storage, replenished in summer for use over winter, are lower than usual for the time of year.

Scott said: “As competition for renewables hots up and supply is less readily available, we’ve seen the market become more volatile. Because of our combined buying power, long forward hedging, risk management, and co-operative sharing of benefits, Co-op Power is able to give significant protection to our customers, not just this year, but into 2022 as well.

“If prices were to remain as they are, Co-op Power has saved the Co-op and our Co-op Power customers £37m of energy cost in 2022, and £9m in 2023. That’s a hit that’s seen businesses go under this week. These are not one-off isolated price rise incidents. This is foretelling for the future and highlights the need for businesses, Government and the energy industry at large to co-operate on a global scale, tear up the rule book and rebuild a strong, stable, home-grown renewable energy sector that’s fair, sustainable, and transparent.

“I think we have an amazing opportunity to play our part in transforming the energy market, continuing to raise the bar in green standards, as we all progress towards Net Zero. Fundamentally, we need a different model. We can’t compete our way to green, we can only co-operate our way there. I’m looking forward to leading a part of the Co-op that goes right to the heart of our vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World.”

Etherington joins Co-op Power from his previous role in the Co-op as Finance Director of Co-op’s wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited, where he had full oversight of financial activities. The appointment follows a long-established career in finance roles for Co-op, Tesco, and GlaxoSmithKline.

As part of Co-op’s ten-point climate plan to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2040, the ambition for Co-op Power is to transform the energy market with transparency and co-operation. Expanding the amount of green energy services, it provides to a growing number of UK businesses and suppliers.

On Etherington’s appointment, Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO, said: “We’re really pleased to have Scott join Co-op Power and support our growth journey as we look to achieve the targets we set out earlier this year in our ten-point plan.

Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and we’re confident that with Scott as our Managing Director, we’ll be able to promote ethical and sustainable practices that can help build the UK’s renewable energy capacity and help tackle the global climate crisis. Whilst also delivering significant financial, environmental and social benefits to our Co-op Power members.”