Monday, 19 March 2012

Join ‘The Big Switch’ to cut energy bills

I am backing ‘The Big Switch’ campaign for consumers to get a cheaper deal on their energy bills.

The Big Switch, launched last month by consumer champion Which? and 38 Degrees, is a new way for people to buy their energy. This will be the first time in the UK that a very large number of people will join together as a group to negotiate a deal with energy companies.

Haslingden and Hyndburn’s residents can join the more than 200,000-strong group who have already signed up to The Big Switch, and to use their collective power to try to cut their energy bills and help shake up the market.

Which? has invited all energy companies to take part and will be negotiating with them to secure the cheapest deal. Energy companies will be asked to submit a market leading deal and take part in a reverse auction. If a deal is secured, Which? will contact everyone who signed up with a personalised savings estimate. Which? will handle the switching process, making it as quick and easy as possible.

Soaring energy bills are driving up inflation and contributing to the cost of living crisis afflicting millions of families. Labour believes that community action, including collective purchasing, is essential to reforming our energy market, and I am pleased to support the Big Switch campaign.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:
"We know people are really struggling with their bills as household incomes are squeezed so it is encouraging that over 200,000 people are taking action to get a better deal on their energy bills.

"There is still time for people to join The Big Switch to get a cheaper deal so spread the word to your friends and family."
Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said:
"Collective switching is a simple but potentially trailblazing way to give people more control over their energy bills. When people come together, they will have more power to negotiate cheaper energy bills with the big energy companies."

“It sets an exciting precedent which organisations such as local authorities and housing associations could take up to negotiate better energy deals on behalf of their residents. Our energy market needs reform – and people power is the first step.”
Notes to editors

1. Key facts:
> According to Ofgem, 60% of consumers have never switched energy supplier;

> 75% of people are currently on their supplier’s ‘default’ standard tariff; and

> Which? research has shown that consumers are missing out on £4 billion a year by not switching.
2. Currently 211,860 people have now joined [as at 18:00hrs on Monday 12th March]. This consists of 188,162 online signups plus 23,698 postal signups.

3. Further information on The Big Switch Early Day Motion can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2755

4. What is The Big Switch? Using the combined switching power of thousands of consumers, we’ll negotiate with energy suppliers and seek to secure a market leading deal.

5. How will The Big Switch work? After initially registering, we’ll be asking people to supply more details about their current tariffs so that we can negotiate the best deal. Which? has invited all the energy companies to take part. They will be asked to submit a market leading deal and take part in a reverse auction. Once we’ve negotiated a new deal with the winning energy company, we’ll get in touch to let people know how much they could save. Which? will handle the switching process, making it as quick and easy as possible.

6. How do you sign up? Visit: https://www.whichbigswitch.co.uk/ It just takes a couple of minutes– only your name, address and email address are required at this stage.

7. More information on The Big Switch is available here: http://www.which.co.uk/energy/saving-money/guides/the-big-switch-explained/

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