Leeds City Council is forging ahead with plans for a new energy company and will be offering competitive energy deals to all residents in the city in the coming months.
Supported by energy supplier Robin Hood Energy, households could take up the offer of having their energy supplied by a council endorsed scheme.
The council will be engaging with tenant groups, other local authorities, and housing associations over the coming months to start work on a wider roll out across the city region so that as many people as possible save money on their bills. The scheme will also be open to all private households and other residents that would like to sign up.
The council will also be switching energy meters in its own social housing properties to smart pay-as-you-go meters which will offer a wider range of cash and cashless top up options. This will potentially lead to cheaper tariffs for those tenants, along with a better understanding of their day-to-day consumption habits and costs.
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:
“Many people are cautious about switching energy providers, but we are setting up scheme that comes with the council’s seal of approval. Residents can know that we are looking to help and are accountable to the people of Leeds; we are not just looking at our bottom line and where we can do we will offer the best deals we can. Of course we’d want anyone to look in detail about what their best offer would be before switching to us, so I’d advise anyone looking to swap to investigate all of their options first.
“This is a significant step forward in our drive to tackle fuel poverty in the city. I’m excited about the opportunities this will provide to reduce the burden of household energy costs to some of our lowest income households and enable them to manage their spend on energy use more effectively.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:
“This represents real investment in our housing stock that will benefit our tenants for years to come.
“Some people might think there is a catch but we can reassure them that there isn’t. We’ll be installing smart meters and switching council properties to the new provider when they’re empty between tenancies and there will be no cost to occupants for any smart meter installations. It’s a win-win project for tenants and the city.
“Tackling inequality across communities is a real priority for us and this will enable us to make a real difference in the city.”
Operating on a ‘not for profit’ basis any surplus generated will be directed back into schemes to reduce fuel poverty in the city. A similar scheme already operating in Nottingham has been successful so far. It is anticipated that the scheme could go live over the summer with some initial smart meter installations and switching happening for social housing in Leeds during late spring 2016.