Time running out to join consumer energy group
Organisers of a bulk-buying scheme aimed at cutting annual household energy bills by more than £400 are urging people to sign up before this month's closing date.
Cornwall Together, which was launched in June by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, is a pioneering scheme enabling ordinary consumers to put pressure on electricity and gas suppliers for a better deal.
Project manager Matt Hastings said: "So far, some 3,500 people have joined Cornwall Together, but it is hoped the more people who sign up, the better the deal could be.
"New members have until midnight on October 28 to join. The following day, Cornwall Together will begin serious negotiations with energy companies.
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"Time is running out to be part of the first energy buying group," added Mr Hastings. "It's free, it takes five minutes and it's fairly easy to do, either online or by phone. We really don't want anyone to miss out."
It has been calculated that joining the group could save households up to £432 a year – and the organisers are now urging those who have already signed up to speak to their friends, family, work colleagues and employers.
Cornwall Together is the first scheme of its kind which enables householders to form a powerful bargaining group to negotiate cheaper energy costs. The ambition is for the scheme to be rolled out nationwide and eventually be used to negotiate as a group for other products.
"After negotiations with the energy companies, those in the scheme will be sent an offer," said Mr Hastings. "You don't have to accept the deal, because there is no obligation, but if you do the transfer from one supplier to another will be very simple."
Conceived by the Eden Project, Cornwall Together was pioneered by Cornwall Council, Cornwall NHS and Community Energy Plus to bring people together to reduce fuel poverty and encourage sustainability and community resilience. They have been joined by delivery partners, Community Renewable Energy Platform, Energyshare and uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service. It is supported by some of Cornwall's leading organisations and employers.
People who sign up will also be offered free loft and cavity insulation which could save them up to £185 a year on heating bills.
Anyone wishing to be part of the Cornwall Together scheme can visit cornwalltogether.com or call Freephone 0800 772 0925.