Cornish charity Community Energy Plus are encouraging householders across the duchy to take collective action this summer to beat high energy bills by taking part in their collective energy switching initiative.
Launched at the Royal Cornwall Show on Thursday 4th June, Community Energy Switch has been set up by the charity to help people overcome the barriers people meet when thinking about switching and to help householders in Cornwall take control of their energy bills.
Registration is free, quick and simple with no obligation to switch. Register online at www.communityenergyswitch.org.uk or call Freephone 0800 804 7247.
Community Energy Switch completed their first collective energy switch in March and helped 799 households to switch to a cheaper tariff, saving an average of £254 and reducing annual energy bills by an average of 25%. All together those who switched saved a total of £202,688.
Community Energy Plus is working with the national switching organisation energyhelpline to co-ordinate their collective energy switch and link into the group buying power of several other collectives taking place across the country at the same time.
Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive at Community Energy Plus, stressed the importance of householders becoming more active in the way that they buy their energy: “For many people with busy lives, shopping around to get a better deal on our energy is something that many don’t get around to doing because they think that it’s too difficult or they don’t have time. The process of registering for the collective, checking your offer and agreeing to switch is quick and easy. When you consider that it’s possible to save up to 25% on your annual energy bills by switching, taking a few minutes to switch can make a massive difference to a household’s running costs and for some will mean that they can afford to live in a warm home this winter.”
The failure of energy companies to reflect the relative stability of wholesale gas household energy bills in their customer’s bills was has been in the spotlight this week when the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd contacted the “big six” suppliers to question them about whether prices are reflecting companies’ costs. Energy regulator Ofgem estimate that firms could increase their profit margins to up to £118 per customer on an estimated annual dual-fuel deal this year, despite wholesale gas and electricity costs being £80 lower than their estimated level a year ago.
The report published in February by the Competition and Markets Authority highlighted that more than 95% of British households who buy electricity and gas from the ‘Big Six’ energy firms have missed out on savings of between £158 to £234 a year by not changing tariffs in the past two years, with between 40% and 50% of customers staying loyal to a supplier for more than 10 years.
Dr Jones continued: “To boost our buying power we need as many people as possible to register before 28th June, after which UK energy suppliers will compete to offer the cheapest exclusive tariffs. We want to see a veritable Trelawny’s army of Cornish householders to get behind this initiative and help us secure cheaper energy for one and all.”
Community Energy Switch is open to everyone. This includes people who own their own homes, rent from a private landlord or social housing provider, as well as if they pay their energy bills by direct debit, cheque, cash or pre-payment meter.
Householders who register their details will be contacted with details of the winning energy deal on 29th June. As well as being offered the exclusive winning tariff they will also see all other tariffs in the market, so if another tariff suits an individual’s energy needs more, they can sign up for that instead; there will also be green tariffs on offer.
Once a householder has agreed to switch, the necessary arrangements will be made on their behalf with their old and new suppliers. Switching is a seamless process – there isn’t a physical change to the energy supply but householders can feel the financial benefit of getting a better deal on your energy bills.
The initiative is being endorsed and promoted by Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.