Aeco is a Belgian supplier and producer of gas and electricity. Based in Raeren, near Eupen, the company has taken the form of a citizen cooperative. It serves the country’s three regions with renewable energy and prides itself on being highly recommended by Greenpeace as a green supplier.
In 1995, the Energie 2030 cooperative was founded by a group of environmentally aware citizens. Having been active back in the 1980s, they had represented Belgium in a European INTERREG project called “Energy 2030 Agentur”. The name was symbolic since 2030 was the deadline set for the various objectives: to halve energy consumption and achieve an energy mix comprising at least 50% from renewable sources.
At the end of the INTERREG project, the group continued to invest in clean and sustainable energy transition projects, and in 1997, the Energie 2030 cooperative installed its first wind farm in Saint-Vith.
Four years later, 36 members of the cooperative decided to set up the company Energie 2030 Agence. Its goal was to encourage the use of renewable energies instead of fossil fuels.
In 2008, several cooperative members expressed their desire to benefit directly from their electricity. The company then also became a supplier of energy in Wallonia.
Since December 2021, the group has changed its name to Aeco. However, the name of its cooperative remains unchanged and is therefore still called Energy 2030.
Today, Aeco offers supply services throughout Belgium, to private individuals and to business customers. It produces almost all of the electricity distributed to its customers and has been offering gas since the end of 2018.
The company’s message is unifying: “Together, we can make energy sustainable, citizen-led and responsible”. This positioning has taken it to the top of the greenest energy supplier ranking compiled by Greenpeace.
The company produces gas and electricity solely from renewable sources. Wind power accounts for the largest part of its energy mix followed, to a lesser extent, by solar and hydroelectric power. It also invests in the construction of wind farms and previously installed photovoltaic panels.
Previously, it was not necessary to be a cooperative member if you wanted to be a customer of Aeco. Buying shares was optional and meant you could enjoy reductions on your supply contract. But since 1 February 2017, you have had to be a member of the “Clean Power Europe” partner cooperative if you want to become a customer of Aeco.
Membership of Clean Power Europe requires you to purchase the equivalent of a maximum of five shares, with a unit value of €1,000.
According to the supplier, this procedure allows customers to become real agents of change. They do not simply consume sustainable gas and electricity but they also invest in the production of these energies.
If a customer has two electricity or gas meters in the same house, they are not required to have two sets of shares in the cooperative; the same applies if they receive a gas supply and an electricity supply at the same address. However, if the meters are located at separate addresses, even if the devices are in the same name, it is mandatory to have a set of shares for each of these addresses.
Compared to other electricity suppliers in Belgium, Aeco only provides its customers with a telephone hotline and an email address. This means there is no chat facility or online personal space.
Regarding bills and payments, Aeco lets you pay your bills by bank transfer or direct debit. Bills can be received by post or by email, although the supplier encourages email for environmental reasons.
The values upheld by Aeco include the ethics of its economic model. The company tries to support renewable energy producers by guaranteeing them proper remuneration. It also undertakes to implement fair pricing for consumers.
The Aeco deal, available in Flanders, Wallonia and in Brussels, is simple at least as it consists of a single product: Clean Power Europe. This one-year contract has a fixed price and, naturally, involves 100% green electricity produced in Belgium.
Note that the annual fee is zero as the Clean Power Europe SCE European cooperative covers this cost in full for its members.
Since 1 November 2018, Aeco has also offered a variable-rate (monthly) gas contract. This involves natural gas produced in Europe from biogas plants.
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