Community Energy Plus News

Buying together cuts almost £500k from Cornish energy bills

Image: Energy Advisors Adrian Ankers and Jenny Hannam

Cornish householders are being urged to take action to stop energy suppliers getting rich at their expense by joining Cornwall’s collective energy switch to access cheaper energy for one and all this autumn.

Registration for Community Energy Switch’s autumn collective switch is now open and householders have until 31st October to register their interest, with no obligation to switch, at www.communityenergyswitch.org.uk or by calling Freephone 0800 954 1956.

Community Energy Plus, the Truro-based energy charity behind the energy switching initiative, is highlighting the unfairness in the energy market which it believes sees Cornish householders spending over £41 million[1] more on their energy bills than they need to each year because two thirds[2] of households are on more expensive standard variable tariffs.

Community Energy Switch was set up 18 months ago to help fight fuel poverty by making energy more affordable.  Since then over 1,900 people have switched, saving an average of £234 which has kept close to half a million pounds in the pockets of Cornish householders.

Recent figures released by OFGEM, the energy regulator, show that tariff switching is becoming more popular amongst consumers, with 3.8 million people changing their supplier in the first half of this year (Jan-June 2016) which is up 30% on the same period last year.

Rising energy prices may trigger more people in Cornwall to start questioning why their energy bills are so high, explains Community Energy Plus’s Chief Executive Dr Tim Jones: “Energy suppliers have been taking advantage of their customers’ loyalty for too long in order to make huge profits. Too many people are out of touch with how they use and buy their energy. Rising prices may be the push that many households in Cornwall need to join our collective energy switch to access cheap tariffs and stop paying more on their energy bills than they need to.

Community Energy Switch is being endorsed and promoted by Cornwall Council. Julian German, Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture said: “Community Energy Switch is an excellent example of people power in action and offers a simple way for householders to cut their energy bills. Many people struggle with the costs of keeping warm and well during the winter but for some households on the lowest incomes, cheaper energy bills will mean the difference between living in a warm rather than cold home during the winter. Cornwall Council is pleased to continue to endorse this important local initiative and I hope that many more people will get on board to get a fairer deal from energy suppliers.”

Cornwall’s collective energy switch links into the group buying power of other collectives taking place across the country at the same time but needs as many people as possible to register their interest in order to secure the winning exclusive cheap tariffs during the energy auction. The winning exclusive tariffs will be available after 1st November, but only to those who have registered their interest before this date. Householders will be able to see how much they could save and how it compares to other tariffs on the market to be sure that they’re getting a good deal before they agree to switch.

Community Energy Plus is a local charity which provides free advice and practical help for householders to enjoy warmer, healthier homes.  As well as making energy bills more affordable, each tariff switch generates a small commission from the new energy supplier which is helping the charity to continue its work to fight fuel poverty in Cornwall.

Community Energy Switch is open to everyone – whether they live in or outside Cornwall. This includes people who own their own homes, rent from a private landlord or social housing provider, as well as if they pay their energy bills by direct debit, cheque, cash or a pre-payment meter. Switching tariffs is a quick and simple process, Community Energy Plus recommends switching tariffs once a year to avoid standard variable tariffs which are generally more expensive than fixed term deals.

 

[1] Calculation based on Community Energy Switch’s current average switch saving of £234.30, multiplied by 66% of homes in Cornwall which are thought to be on a standard variable tariff (265,570 homes in Cornwall – 66% = 175,276)

 

[2] OFGEM Retail Energy Markets Report, August 2016 (https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2016/08/retail_energy_markets_in_2016.pdf) page 3.