Householders in Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and York banded together with their local authority and Community Energy Direct to source the best deal from gas and electricity suppliers.
Working with the consumer organisation Which?, the councils and Community Energy Direct saw almost 7,000 households sign-up to the collective switch, which closed on 1 May.
1,354 Leeds residents now stand to collectively save £136,564 a year. They join thousands of residents in five neighbouring areas taking the total savings to £805,000. Average household annual energy savings are £137.
Another 1,000 families have been reassured that they are already on the best deal available for them.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“There’s no doubt that by clubbing together we’ve been able to negotiate a great deal for our residents. People power has definitely paid off, with many householders now saving a significant amount of money at a time when energy bills are spiralling out of control.
“Even if people didn’t want to join the collective on this occasion there is still merit in shopping around for the best energy deal or even switching payment method. And once on the best deal for you, you can capitalise on savings even further by using energy wisely.”
Hugh Goulbourne, a director of Community Energy Direct, said:
“The savings of almost £1 million across the five areas clearly demonstrates that when householders band together in a collective way they can help each other to save.
“Some homes will be making an annual saving of more than £500 on their energy costs simply by switching from a cash account to a quarterly direct debit account.
“We are very pleased to be making these significant savings which will ease the pressures on so many households, especially those people living on fixed incomes who were finding it such a struggle to make ends meet.”
The Community Energy Direct - Energy Smart program was launched in February and ran its collective switch scheme for three months. It was supported by the Cheaper Energy Together fund operated by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Plans are already being drawn up for future collective energy switching and energy saving initiatives across the region.
Detailed analysis of the households which have been offered better energy deals is now being completed and will be detailed in a report to go to DECC.
Initial analysis shows the following:
|Area||Registered households||Total savings by payment type||Offers by type|
|Cash||Direct Debit||Pre-payment||Total||Cash||Direct Debit||Pre- payment||Total|
So, in Leeds, a total of 1,354 households joined the collective switch. Those who used to pay by cash can save a total of £8,755 by making the switch to the new account offer; those paying by direct debit can save £115,783; those on pre-payment deals can save £12,027. This makes a total energy cost saving in the Leeds area of £136,564.
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing joined the five Yorkshire areas in the program, and 100 people who lived outside the region also signed-up.
Note to editors:
Community Energy Direct is based in Leeds. For more information visit www.communityenergy.info.
Energy regulator Ofgem predicts that energy prices will rise by 60% to 2016 and that the number of homes in fuel poverty (spending more than 10% of household income on energy) will rise from 13% to 16% in the same timeframe.
A community energy co-operative approach enables local people, within a distinct area, to join together and ensure that they are all on the best possible deal for them.
Community Energy Direct is setting up energy smart programmes in six local authority areas across northern England, training and supporting local energy champions so that they can work with local authority and housing partners to continue to drive down energy bills for thousands of households.
Which? is a consumer champion. It works to make things better for consumers. Its advice helps them make informed decisions; its campaigns make people’s lives fairer, simpler and safer; its services and products put consumers’ needs first to bring them better value.
Community Energy Direct – John O’Grady 07805 933324
Leeds City Council – Amanda Burns 0113 395 1577