A new initiative which has been introduced to help energy consumers across Greater Manchester slash their fuel bills should enable participating householders to save as much as £200 a year.
In a move designed to proactively tackle rising energy costs, councils across the area are collectively teaming up to negotiate cheaper gas and electricity prices as part of a pioneering bulk buy energy scheme. Similar energy co-operatives embraced by Rochdale and Oldham councils have already proved successful and now the idea is to give the rest of the region the chance to get involved and benefit from reduced energy bills from February 2013.
In what will be the biggest energy co-operative of its kind ever seen in the UK, the more people who get on board the higher the savings potential. Pioneered in Belgium, these schemes are able to negotiate cheaper and better deals by utilising the greatest bargaining tool of all – people power.
Commenting on the scheme Councillor Arooj Shah from Oldham council said because energy prices had more than doubled in the last 6-7 years gas and electricity bills were increasingly becoming a “major financial headache” for cash-strapped families all over Britain.
“It is fantastic news that our collective energy switching programme is being joined by all ten of the neighbouring Greater Manchester authorities. Together, we now have around 1.2 million households who can come on board with this, and we are still speaking to other interested local authorities up and down the country,” said Councillor Shah, adding: “This should significantly swell the size and purchasing power of the collective group – and that means even bigger potential savings for residents.”
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News during his visit to Manchester earlier this week, energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said these types of co-operative schemes were a great idea to bring people together and get them a better deal.
“With energy prices going up, I think everybody wants to see how they can cut their bills, so I would urge people across Greater Manchester to look at this fantastic scheme and consider signing up,” he added.