CO-OPERATIVE ENERGY SWITCHING

You will have read on my website previously about the potential benefits of Energy Switching. Below is a qeustion and answer brief that you may be interested in. The Cooperative Energy Switching scheme is available city wide and Councillors have been asked to help promote this.

What is co-operative energy switching?

Co-operative energy switching is where a group of people band together to get the best possible domestic energy prices (gas and electricity). They sign-up to form a local co-operative  to deliver economies of scale from the energy companies.

What is happening in Leeds?

The Council has joined with Community Energy Direct (CED), who are based in the city, to encourage the development of local Energy Smart Clubs, where the people who are interested can sign-up to register their interest. CED then work with their partner, Which? who organised the Big (energy) Switch last year to get the best price for the people who have signed-up.

Leeds City Council is one of five to have partnered with CED, the others being Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and York, along with Rochdale Housing. The scheme is part of a national initiative organised by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

What are the benefits?

Millions of domestic energy users have not changed their supplier since competition was introduced into the energy supply market. Many of these are people who live in fuel poverty and spend more than 10% of their household income on energy bills. These people can make significant savings on their energy costs but need encouraging to make the change.

We hope that through the development of Energy Smart Clubs which will be community-led by local people, more people will realise the benefits of the best energy prices available in the market.

The Energy Smart Clubs will be run by local people within their own communities and will offer:

– better energy deals;
– information about how to save energy; and
– access to energy saving products.

Who are we working with?

Community Energy Direct, whose offices are in Marshalls Mill just outside Leeds City Centre, are the main partner for the Council. CED are supported by a number of organisations, including Leeds-based CO2Sense.

What are the timescales?

The community energy switching scheme will be launched on Monday, 18th February and residents from across the district will be encouraged to register their interest with no commitment. Some time in April – the date has yet to be confirmed – the scheme will close for new applicants.

CED will then work with Which? to source the best offers on price, which will involve an auction with energy supply companies, followed by a comparison between the individual household and all available tariffs on the market to ensure that the best tariff is offered. The prospective new prices will then be shared with each  individual who has registered. If the new offer is no better than the person’s existing energy deal, then they will be informed and not switch. Where the potential new prices are better than what is currently in place, the individual has the choice whether to switch or not.

How much is this costing?

There is no cost to the council or its residents.

Who qualifies?

Anyone who lives in the six local authority areas can join the scheme.

How will it be marketed?

Community Energy Direct will work with each of the 5 local authorities and Rochdale Housing to encourage a joint approach to marketing, Public Relations and promotional activities. The scheme in York was launched on Thursday, 7th February and the four West/North Yorkshire authorities will jointly launch the scheme in the county on Monday, 18th February. Rochdale Housing have yet to confirm when they will go-live.

How do residents apply?

Residents can register their interest via a telephone line or via a website. This is not a final commitment

0845 4502581

www.communityenergy.info

How have we decided which areas to prioritise?

The scheme will work particularly closely with communities in Richmond Hill and Hunslet to make sure some of the most deprived people benefit from switching. However any household in Leeds can join the scheme too.

What are the targets?

CED’s aim is for around 87,000 consumers to participate in the programme – across the six participating areas – with 17,000 switching energy tariff. This will include 6,300 vulnerable households.

How much can people save on their energy bills?

Community Energy Direct expects the average potential saving to be between £115 and £150 per customer. Some will save more, others less. For some who may have switched energy provider in the past there may be no benefit in switching. Those who have never changed energy provider are likely to save the most.

 

How will councillors be involved?

Information and promotional materials will be available for every ward member to share with constituents in their surgeries or at other events. More detailed consultation with ward members and locality managers in priority wards will be undertaken to target marketing to specific locations, events and community networks.