Mendip tackles fuel poverty by backing community energy scheme

Mendip District CouncilMendip District Council is backing a new pilot scheme which aims to tackle fuel poverty by helping local people to get a better deal on their energy bills.

Collective Energy Switching 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.

Mendip District Council is supporting the initiative by entering into a 12-month pilot agreement with third party switching broker iChoosr, which will seek better energy tariffs for local people. The auction process will be managed by iChoosr.

The pilot 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 – –where they will find a link for the Big Community Switch website. There they can follow a simple online process to register their interest (residents without internet access will be supported through the registration process by the council).
  • These residents are then pooled with other local authority schemes (around 60 currently) and iChoosr holds an auction where energy companies bid against each other 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
  • iChoosr then handles the process of switching energy suppliers

Donna Nolan, corporate manager for governance, assets and public spaces, said: “Collective energy switching is a great way for local residents to work together to reduce their energy bills.

“Around 150 councils have already supported auctions across the country and reports from other local authorities are that the scheme has been well received by residents and the switching process has been handled smoothly.

“We are keen to trial this project here in Mendip and help people work together to bring down the soaring cost of energy bills, which have risen by a massive 37% since 2010.

“I hope that people across Mendip will give serious consideration to taking part in this initiative and the benefits it could bring them.”

The first auction in Mendip is due to take place in June. Residents who are keen to be part of the process can register online via or contact Mendip District Council on 0300 303 8588 or visit any Council Access Point for more information.