In the last round of energy switching, in October last year, local people who signed up to the scheme saved an average of £174 on their annual fuel bills, while some saved more than £300.
Collective Energy Switching – which is backed by Mendip District Council – is when consumers get together to negotiate a group deal with gas and electricity suppliers, with a third party actively negotiating a better tariff on behalf of the group through an auction process.
The scheme, which is open to all Mendip residents, aims to help prevent people slipping into fuel poverty, allow vulnerable groups to participate in energy switching and help Mendip’s residents to get a better deal on their energy bills.
The way the process works is:
- Residents visit the Mendip District Council website – www.mendip.gov.uk –where they will find a link for the Big Community Switch website. There they can follow a simple online process to register their interest.
- Up to five households can be registered on one email address and residents without internet access will be supported through the registration process by the council.
- Mendip residents are then pooled with other local authority schemes (around 60 currently) and energy companies bid against each other in a reverse auction to offer the group of customers the best deal.
- A no-obligation offer is then sent to each resident who has registered in the scheme and they have a month to choose whether to accept it.
- If residents choose to accept their offer they are then switched to the new supplier and supported to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transfer.
Residents who wish to take part in the next round of energy switching need to have registered by Monday 2nd February.
Cllr Philip Ham, Portfolio Holder for Policy and Performance, said: “The last auction saw people from Mendip save an average of £174 on their fuel bills, while others saved an impressive £300.
“This is a great initiative that can really benefit local people by saving them money and helping to tackle fuel poverty.
“The cost of energy bills has risen by a massive 37% since 2010, so we are keen to do what we can to help local residents save money on their bills.”
Mendip District Council has partnered with iChoosr, a leading expert in collective energy switching, to operate the scheme in the district.
Filip Vissers, UK manager at iChoosr, said: “As our collective energy schemes become better known we are attracting more ‘big six’ and smaller independent suppliers to compete more aggressively for custom. All of the October tariffs were market leading and exclusive to scheme members. The rates were not available direct from the suppliers or via price comparison websites.”