'Collective switching' schemes catch on to cut energy bills


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The Independent Online

More than 100,000 homes have seen their energy costs cut by an average £100 after signing up to collective switching scheme run by their local council.

Those who have signed-up so far have saved between £60 and £250 and the popularity of the schemes is soaring with the number of councils offering them more than doubling to 65 since January.

Peter Fleming, chair of the Local Government Association's Improvement Board, said: "As a concept collective switching is still really in its infancy. This time last year there were no schemes being run in this country, now there are more than 65 councils helping 100,000 residents save more than £10m. Imagine how many millions we could have helped people saved by this time next year?"

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

There are a number of commercial schemes run by the like of thePeoplesPower.co.uk and Which?, but South Lakeland District Council  launched the first local government-run collective switching scheme last June.

"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."

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