Fuel deal on hold until September

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THE “fairer fuel” deal for South Holland residents has gone on the back burner until September with the so far unnamed company refusing to start until its high-tech smart meters are ready for mass production.

South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter aimed to be the first councillor in the country to pilot a mass switchover – with thousands of residents expected to save at least 15 per cent on their gas and electricity bills.

The company’s change of heart came last Wednesday as arrangements were being made for a “battle bus” to be out and about to boost the 2,000-plus signs-ups gathered so far for the scheme.

Coun Porter says the deal remains on the table, but the company won’t budge until its meters are ready.

He said: “It’s more than just a smart meter, it’s like a laptop.”

As well as gathering information on power consumed for everyday normal use, the smart meters feed information to a central point – and consumers could get an email if there is a usage “spike” caused by something like leaving the freezer door open.

Coun Porter says the smart meters will be more useful for people who take up the company’s offer on solar energy panels and he’s angry it has stalled at this late stage.

He said: “I am seriously really disappointed. You can’t even write in the newspaper the words I was using on Friday.”

But the council leader revealed there is the possibility of a second cheap energy deal on the horizon with a company called I-Chooser waiting in the wings to give a presentation next week to the Local Government Association.

The company has already run successful schemes in Holland and Belgium – driving down energy prices to below state subsidy tariffs – but the go-ahead it will depend on group leaders at the LGA.

Coun Porter said: “That’s a national scheme so obviously we will get access to it but it won’t be exclusive to us.”