A COLLECTIVE energy purchasing scheme in Stockton-on-Tees is going from strength to strength after statistics show households across the Borough have saved £99,000 on their gas and electricity bills.
Run by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council with delivery partners iChoosr and Make It Cheaper, the Big Community Switch gives residents the opportunity to join together to form a single buying unit through which they can negotiate cheaper energy bills. An auction then takes place and those who have signed up receive a personal offer from the winning supplier which they can choose to accept or decline.
The Big Community Switch first took place in April 2013 and since then three more auctions have taken place. Each auction has seen the average household saving go up.
The most recent scheme, held in autumn 2015 saw the highest number of people switch with one in three residents registered choosing to switch to the winning supplier. On average this latest auction saw Stockton-on-Tees Borough residents save £222 per household.
Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member Environment and Housing, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to reduce fuel poverty and this includes different ways to help people get cheaper bills. Since 2013, 568 households have got a better deal on their energy bills thanks to the Big Community Switch helping people to save hundreds of pounds. We encourage anyone interested to look out for the next auction and register.”
One resident who has recently saved money by switching is 90-year-old Mrs Josephine Shaw of Ingleby Barwick. She said: “I would have no hesitation in recommending The Big Community Switch. It was really easy – my neighbour helped me register on line and when my personal offer came back with a predicted saving of £250 I had no hesitation to switch. Once I accepted the offer from the new supplier all I had to do was submit my meter readings. It was all very straight forward and being a pensioner any savings on my energy bills are very welcome.”