Council leader’s plan to teach ‘greedy’ energy providers a lesson

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GREEDY energy companies need a “kicking” from people in South Holland according to council leader Gary Porter, who could look at doing a deal on cheap energy for residents.

Coun Porter is looking into whether the district council could strike a deal with a leading energy firm where they would be promoted as a “preferred provider” with a guaranteed level of supply in return for lower bills for our taxpayers.

With temperatures dropping and big bills about to land through the doors of residents here, Coun Porter is trying to see whether a deal might ease the financial pain.

In March we revealed that almost a third of households in this district were living in “fuel poverty” - a figure that could rocket after energy price hikes over the summer.

There is growing resentment at the energy firms due to those spiralling prices and regulator Ofgem recently revealed that gas and electricity suppliers are now making £125 a year profit per customer on a standard dual fuel deal, compared to £15 in June.

Coun Porter said: “People are looking for certainty in anything and if we can guarantee to an energy provider that we are going to buy so many million units then that becomes an attractive proposition.

“Prices are just going up and up and there’s no rhyme nor reason to it. They told us that prices were going up because the price of oil was going up but when that came down the bills didn’t.”

The leader called on everyone in the district to looking into changing their supplier to send a message to the companies, and save cash that could be spent locally instead.

He reckons that most people in South Holland could save £200 to £250 by switching to a dual fuel direct debit deal and says that the hassle caused to the companies by switching suppliers might teach them a lesson and force them to drive the price down.

Coun Porter added: “The majority of people have still got the same energy supplier they had a couple of years ago.

“You have to be looking at the price all the time - it’s the only way to drive them down.

“The big bills are really going to start now and people will notice - particularly because we’ve just gone through a nice summer. It is going to be scary times.

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

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

The Citizens Advice Bureau will be moving into South Holland District Council’s Priory Road headquarters in Spalding and Coun Porter said there may be scope to pool the council and CAB’s resources to run sessions helping people who want to fill in forms or change suppliers.

He said that pensioners in receipt of full pension credit are able to get some money off their bills this winter thanks to a Government initiative and they should contact their energy firm to make sure they get the cash before it runs out.