Household bills slashed in Cornwall energy bulk-buy deal
Families in Cornwall are saving up to £450 on their annual fuel bills, thanks to the UK's first collective energy purchasing scheme.
Cornwall Together yesterday announced that three companies – E.ON, Ovo Energy and British Gas – offered the best deals to its 10,000 customers. The thrust of the initiative is to buy in bulk to achieve cheaper prices.
Project manager Matt Hastings said: "We are hearing of some really significant savings. A family of five living in a four-bedroom house in Lostwithiel have been able to save nearly £450.
"The offers are going out to people now, so it's too early to give exact figures for all Cornwall Together members, but our early estimates suggest that nearly 90 per cent of dual fuel customers could save an average of nearly £150."
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The first round of Cornwall Together closed on October 28. Almost 10,000 Cornish households signed up to the scheme and four of the major energy companies – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON and nPower – along with sustainable energy suppliers Good Energy and Ovo, made formal bids.
Cornwall Together will now present those who joined the scheme with a series of options: a cheaper deal, a tariff from a more sustainable source, or a personalised offer should there be a better deal on the market for their requirements. Some 10,000 emails and letters will be sent out in the next few days and these must be accepted before November 25 to secure a deal.
"It is crucial people open the email or letter and consider making the switch," added Mr Hastings. "It sounds obvious, but if you don't switch, you don't save. Switching is very easy and pretty seamless."
Conceived by the Eden Project, Cornwall Together was pioneered by Cornwall Council, the NHS and Community Energy Plus, aiming to bring people together to reduce fuel poverty, encourage sustainability and community resilience. They were joined by community renewable energy platform Energyshare and independent comparison service uSwitch.com.
Lucy Darch of uSwitch.com, who led the purchasing negotiations, said she was "delighted" at the engagement from energy companies. "Two of the bidders, npower and Good Energy, created added-value offers for Cornwall Together, but were pipped to the post by the winners. The priority now is to explain the options and savings to householders and to support them through the actual switch."
To sign up for the next phase of Cornwall Together, visit www.cornwalltogether.com.