Following the news that more than 95% of British households who buy electricity and gas from the ‘Big Six’ energy firms have missed out on savings of between £158 to £234 a year by not changing tariffs in the past two years, the charity behind Cornwall’s collective energy switch is urging householders to take control of their energy costs by taking part in their Community Energy Switch initiative.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the energy market since last summer in response to a referral from the energy regulator Ofgem.
The report published today (18th February) by the CMA shows that between 40% and 50% of customers have been with a supplier for more than 10 years. Following the privatisation of the energy industry in the 1990s, there are also millions of “sticky” customers who were inherited by the big suppliers, many of which are on standard variable tariffs and are missing the opportunity to save money.
More than 1,200 people have already registered to save money on their bills with Community Energy Switch, which is being led by the Cornwall-based charity Community Energy Plus. As the registration window closes on 1st April, the charity is urging householders from across the county to become more savvy consumers by joining their collective switch.
Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive at Community Energy Plus, explained the need for Community Energy Switch: “Unfortunately energy suppliers have a poor track record of not rewarding loyalty from their customers. From our experience of working with householders who are struggling with their energy bills, it is often low income and vulnerable households who stay with the same energy supplier year after year, even though they have the most to gain from switching. We’ve set up our switching service to make it easy for householders to access a great deal on their energy bills and would encourage anyone who has been on the same energy tariff for more than a year to take two minutes to sign-up. Our message is simple: don’t stick – switch!”
Registration is free, quick and simple with no obligation to switch. Register online at www.communityenergyswitch.org.uk or call Freephone 0800 804 7247.
The charity is working with the national switching organisation energyhelpline to co-ordinate their collective switch and link into the group buying power of several other collectives taking place across the country at the same time. energyhelpline’s last collective switch enabled participating households to save an average of £221 a year on their energy bills.
Householders have until 1st March to register, after which UK energy suppliers will compete to offer the cheapest exclusive tariffs.
Dr Jones continued: “Many people who haven’t switched before have been put off from doing so because they believe that the process is more complicated than it actually is. Switching is a seamless process – there isn’t a physical change to the energy supply but householders can feel the financial benefit of getting a better deal on their energy bills.”
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 pre-payment meter.
The initiative is being endorsed and promoted by Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the Winter Wellbeing Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.