What makes a co-operative energy retailer different?
We get this question a lot.
We like to focus on one fundamental difference...the consumer...the core reason we exist.
Most traditional businesses, especially large enterprise, they focus on their for-profit motives. Their primary purpose is to create wealth for their shareholders. If the company is not generating profits, then business decisions need to be made to make sure money is abundant. This can have impacts on their employees, their customers and the larger community.
Many co-operative businesses are driven to provide a product or service that is not presently available and would be a benefit to their membership or local community. This is especially true of the Rural Electric Associations (REAs), like our founding members. They were created because many rural communities were not being serviced by established utility companies –
they focused on larger urban areas. These co-operative associations were created to make the lives of their membership better by providing electricity to their rural community.
So, the major difference between a co-operative and traditional business is their fundamental reason to exist – the pursuit of profit or improving the lives of their membership.
Through ACE’s Co-operative values, we believe that we can improve the lives of our members, customers and the communities we serve.
Who is Alberta Cooperative Energy (ACE)?
We provide products and services that benefit Albertans.
Did you ever think how did we get here? I mean, why do people have choices when it comes to who supplies their energy (electricity and natural gas)? Well, it all began in the 1990’s, when the government at the time, intended to give the public more choice and de-regulate the market. People were no longer constrained to their local utility company. They could choose another energy retailer in another area of the province who they viewed as a better option whether it be a lower cost option or another entity that aligned with their personal values. People were presented with messaging about de-regulation as “Customer Choice”.
Despite it's messaging, many people were not impressed with their "Choices" since they viewed most energy retailers, especially the investor-owned utilities (IOU), as the same thing – the only real difference was the color and logo on their electricity and/or natural gas invoice. People wanted a real choice or something different.
Upon hearing this, a collection of co-operatives and associations (gas co-ops, rural electric associations: https://ucahelps.alberta.ca/REAs-and-Natural-Gas-Co-ops.aspx) with a can-do attitude decided to offer something that has not been seen in the Alberta marketplace - a co-operative energy company with its members controlling the direction of the company. ACE believes in better customer support, lower fees and rates and more support for the communities they serve by hiring locally and investing in the future of these communities.
Today, Alberta Co-operative Energy (ACE), is viewed by all who knows them, as a better choice. ACE operates as a member-owned energy retailer who supports renewable energy production in Alberta. ACE offers something different and better for Albertans.
What can you expect from ACE?
Access to Alberta’s only cooperative energy company. You get democratic rights to steer our organization and the potential for dividend payments.
Great rates and transparency that we share with our members and non-members. We operate very lean with low overhead and pass on all the rate savings to our members and customers.
A variety of choices to serve you better. Whether it is electricity or natural gas for energy or fixed, variable or a hybrid rate, we offer a variety of options for you.
Great flexibility. Our customer can choose to switch rates or programs without penalty. And our customers/members can choose to leave us without penalty. This means there is nothing holding you back from trying ACE. You can leave at any time.
We support Alberta by hiring local staff and operating exclusively in Alberta. Our Calgary based billing and customer care group understands you and the Alberta energy market. Our service is second to none.
We support the future of Alberta with programs that support renewable energy production in our province. Through our partnership with SPARK, our customers contribute financially to the local generators who add renewable energy to Alberta’s energy grid. To date, ACE customers have contributed over $70K since the program’s inception.