Sluggish start to cheaper energy bills campaign

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THOUSANDS of people are needed to back a possible cut-price deal on gas and electricity if South Holland is to become the first local authority in the country to pilot a mass switch.

In sheer profit alone, the district’s 38,000-plus homes are handing energy companies a whopping £4.8 million every single year.

Council leader Coun Gary Porter is urging residents to back a big switch – simply by registering an interest in cheaper gas and electricity.

Registering is part of a two-step process – it doesn’t commit householders to anything – but it will give the council negotiating power so it can try to persuade energy companies to offer a cheaper deal to householders if thousands ‘nominally’ agree at this stage to change suppliers.

Up to Friday morning only 177 people had registered on the council website.

Coun Porter said: “We are going to need thousands of people, not hundreds, if it is going to have any effect.

“I want people to understand it is not a commitment now. There is no expectation of anyone who puts their name forward at this stage. It is simply about registering an interest.

“We need to know what level of interest there is and then we can see what rates we can negotiate.”

Once a cheap rate is negotiated, people could then commit to the deal if they wanted to do so.

Coun Porter’s aim is to save people at least ten per cent of their current fuel bills – around £100 a year for many people, roughly equal to what most residents pay each year to the district council in council tax.

The council leader is due to meet British Gas at the end of this month and he would like to be able to tell the company that ‘X thousand people’ are interested in signing up to a cheaper deal and ask what the company can offer.

He also wants to talk to smaller engergy companies, known as ‘the little six’ to see what they can offer.

Coun Porter’s cash-saving idea has had a favourable reception from Government departments and is being investigated at national level.

• To register your interest visit www.sholland.gov.uk and click on the news story “Fairer Fuel For All” or contact your ward councillor who will help you.