Hampshire County Council is leading a partnership of the county’s District and Borough Councils, together with Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils to set up Switch Hampshire – a ‘collective energy switching scheme’ which aims to help residents save money on their gas and/or electricity bills.
Switch Hampshire will encourage residents to join together so as to use their combined purchasing power to negotiate better deals on their energy tariffs.
The scheme will offer consumers a simple and easy way to switch energy suppliers to take advantage of the best tariffs available. Once registered everything else should be automatic. It is completely free to take part, and there is no obligation to switch supplier.
The average Hampshire household energy bill is just over £1,000 per annum – this equates to annual spend of over £800m on domestic energy across the county. Typically, consumers in Hampshire could save between £60 and £200 a year on their energy bills by participating in a collective energy switching scheme, depending upon their current tariff(s) and their personal circumstances.
Hampshire County Council, on behalf of the Partnership, has contracted a service provider to manage the switching scheme. The service provider will be responsible for registering consumers, negotiating with energy companies to secure the best deal for householders and arranging the switch for each individual customer. There will be no charges to the customer or any council tax payer for this service, since the service provider’s revenue will be referral fees paid to them by the energy supplier.
Clearly, the more people who sign up, the more collective bargaining power there will be – so it is vital as many people as possible register for the scheme. Just two per cent of Hampshire’s 760,000 households, for example, amounts to around 15,000 energy customers, and the intention is to save money for as many people as possible including vulnerable, disadvantaged and hard to reach members of the community.
More details about the scheme and how to register will be announced in April 2013. Further information will be provided then, but in the meantime residents may visit the Hampshire County Council website to find out more.
Watch out for further announcements.