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Spend & Save

Collective energy switching is taking off

More than 1,500 households in the Lake District have cut their heating and lighting bills by between £150 and £200. How? They joined up to a collective switching scheme pioneered by their local council last June.

Since then several more councils have launched schemes, including Cornwall, Norwich, Surrey, Oldham, Peterborough, London and Leeds.

In fact more than 65 councils around the country have launched schemes since January, leading to more than 100,000 homes cutting their energy costs cut by an average of £100.

The schemes work by using collective bargaining to negotiate better deals with gas and electricity suppliers, including the Big Six firms as well as independent suppliers.

Households which sign up to the scheme have no obligation to take the tariff offered, but many do when they discover how much they can save.

And that's the beauty of them – they help people who otherwise may not have helped themselves to lower charges.

Peter Fleming, chair of the Local Government Association's Improvement Board, points out: "The real benefit of these schemes for councils is not about helping people save money, but about making it easy for vulnerable members of our communities, like the elderly or those with disabilities, to switch supplier."

Contact your own local council to see if there's a scheme available. If not, ask them why not!