14
April
2013
|
00:00
Europe/London

Thousands getting extended chance to reduce energy costs


Thousands of people are being given an extended chance to reduce their energy bills.



The region’s largest ever mass energy switch, which could save individuals around £115 a year on their gas and electricity costs, will continue for a further two weeks.



Leeds-based Community Energy Direct is working across six local authorities in the north of England – including Leeds – to deliver real energy reductions.



The scheme was originally scheduled to close on Wednesday, 17 April but has been extended to midnight on Wednesday, 1 May. The deadline has been extended to give community workers more time to deliver the message around the region.



Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment, said:



“We’re encouraged that so many people have signed up so far. We know there are many others who could benefit from switching suppliers but they may be wary about the scheme.



“I can reassure people that this is a genuine offer backed by Leeds City Council with the express aim of helping people save on their energy bills. Extending the deadline gives people that little bit more time to chat to the team and satisfy themselves that this is a legitimate, no-obligation scheme.”



Hugh Goulbourne, Community Energy Direct director, said:



“So far more than 4,000 people have joined our free sign-up.



“We’re finding that people are suspicious of the energy sector but we are an independent organisation, a community co-operative, supported by the Department of Energy, and have no connections with any energy supplier. Our objective is to encourage people to get the best possible deal on energy costs – especially those who have never switched or who are on fixed incomes.



“The suspicions that many people have about energy due to doorstep mis-selling and regulatory issues have had an effect on the number of people signing-up. But our scheme is free and without obligation and we will continue to work hard to ensure everyone gets the message, especially those who have never changed their supplier or who face the challenge of living on a fixed income”.



The consumer organisation Which? will be managing negotiations with energy suppliers to ensure they get the best possible deal for everyone who joins the Community Energy Direct scheme.



To register, all people have to do is visit www.communityenergy.info to register for free and without obligation.



Alternatively, people can visit one of the local information sessions or call 0845 4502581 (local rates apply).



When the scheme closes on May 1 the details of everyone who has registered will be passed to Which?. They will then spend around four weeks sourcing the best deals from energy suppliers, passing the details back to everyone who has joined. Individuals will then have two weeks to decide whether to make the switch or to stay with their current arrangements.



Ends



Note to editors:


  1. Community Energy Direct is based in Leeds. For more information visit www.communityenergy.info

  2. Energy regulator Ofgem predicts that energy prices will rise by 60% to 2016 and that the number of homes in fuel poverty (spending more than 10% of household income on energy) will rise from 13% to 16% in the same timeframe.

  3. A community energy co-operative approach enables local people, within a distinct area, to join together and hold an 'auction' with energy providers to source the best possible deal for its members.

  4. Community Energy Direct is working in six local authority areas across northern England to drive down energy prices for thousands of households.

  5. Based on studies of previous energy switching initiatives, Community Energy Direct expects households to save up to £115 per year on their fuel costs.

  6. Which? is a consumer champion. It works to make things better for consumers. Its advice helps them make informed decisions; its campaigns make people’s lives fairer, simpler and safer; its services and products put consumers’ needs first to bring them better value.


Contacts:



Amanda Burns

Leeds City Council, 0113 395 1577



John O’Grady, 07805 933324

Community Energy Direct