Plan to give energy firms a ’kicking’ gathers pace

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GREEDY gas and electricity companies could be in for a “kicking” – and South Holland residents might be among the first to give it.

District council leader Gary Porter is determined to pilot a mass supplier switchover so that thousands of residents get cheaper bills.

If enough people back a simple sign-up scheme, Coun Porter reckons the district council could save every householder around ten per cent on their energy bills.

Coun Porter is vice-chairman of the influential Local Government Association and was in London last week to meet Government bigwigs from the Department of Energy and Climate Control, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Business and Industry and invited groups.

The idea of mass switchovers was supported there and Coun Porter says “a collection of schemes” are likely to be available within the next six months.

Coun Porter said: “The people around that table could make it happen – that’s what makes me so confident.

“The Government are going to be expecting a report from that group by April next year and I would love to have something running before then.”

No date is set but he plans to have an easy-to-use website sign-up so that residents can register an interest in switching from their current energy provider.

Residents who are not “internet savvy” would register an interest with their ward councillor.

Coun Porter said: “I want to make it as simple as possible for everybody.

“Some of the smaller energy companies appear to be more interested in this switch than the larger ones.

“If we could say to an energy company ‘we will guarantee you are getting 30,000 houses’, I reckon we could save everybody about ten per cent on their energy bills.”

The district council’s current share of council tax for a Band A property is a little under £105 a year and Coun Porter believes residents will save at least that sum if they switched energy providers.

He first revealed his plan to win cheaper energy deals for South Holland residents in October after industry regulator Ofgem announced gas and electricity suppliers were making £125 a year profit for every dual fuel customer compared to just £15 in June.

He said then: “I am fortunate because the bills don’t hurt me too much but they hurt me mentally because I really hate being screwed over.

“It is getting to the point where somebody has got to start to kick these people.”