The power is in your hands

Calderdale residents are being given another chance to sign up for cheaper energy.

Building on the success of the borough’s first ever collective energy switch in January 2013, Calderdale Council is again teaming up with local authorities in Greater Manchester to run a second energy switch auction.

People can register now. Their addresses will be added to a list of properties seeking a better annual rate for their electricity and / or gas. The supply for the list is then ‘auctioned’ to seek the best rate. By working together, better prices can be obtained from energy companies.

The last date people can sign up is Monday 8 April 2013, and the auction will take place on Tuesday 9 April 2013. The energy switch is open to all local residents and small business owners on domestic gas or electricity tariffs.

35,500 households registered for the first collective energy switch across Calderdale and Greater Manchester. Of these, 2,600 are in Calderdale and over 1,900 Calderdale households have been offered a cheaper energy deal.

The average saving is £122 per household per year, and early indications suggest that exceptional savings can be made by taking up the offers available, with some reported savings of well over £300 a year. The savings will vary from household to household, and depend on how competitive their current energy tariff is, how much they use / pay, and whether they have ever shopped around before for a better deal.

Following the auction each household is contacted with a projected saving or additional cost if they decide to switch. There is no obligation for residents to accept the rate offered in the auction – each household can compare what’s on offer with their current rate and decide what to do. But the more people who sign up as interested, the better the auction rates tend to be.

Average energy costs for gas and electricity are now over £1,300 per year for a typical property. Research carried out by the energy market regulator, Ofgem suggests that up to 80 percent of households do not regularly shop around for the best energy deal.

Through the collective energy switch, the Council is helping local households save money on their energy bills by making it as easy as possible to switch to a cheaper energy tariff.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, said:

“We are delighted with the response to the first collective energy switch. People who missed out on signing up now have the opportunity to potentially make some great savings. The results of the first auction have already shown that by working as a collective, households can drive a harder bargain and get a cheaper tariff. Long-term prices are expected to continue rising, so it’s really important that people make sure they are on the best deal to keep their bills as low as possible.&quot:

Calderdale Council’s Scrutiny Chair for Economy and Environment, Cllr David Hardy, added:

“It’s important that people monitor their own energy use by taking meter readings once every month. Energy companies are only obliged to take a meter reading once every two years, and can rely on estimated readings for the rest of the time. This leads to estimated bills, which can mean that people might be paying more than they need to over the course of a year. We also encourage people to shop around different energy companies to find the best deal – whether it’s through a collective energy switch or individually.”

For more information and to sign up to the latest collective energy switch, go toCalderdale Energy Switch(external link)|External link. It only takes a few minutes to register online. Alternatively, call 0800 009 3363, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm, or go to one of the drop-in sessions at your local library, which the Council is running to help people register. Whichever way you register, please make sure you have your latest energy bills with details of your energy use and costs, as these are needed to sign up. The sessions are as follows:

  • Elland Library: Monday 25 March, 11.00am – 2.30pm
  • Hebden Bridge Library: Monday 25 March, 10.30am – 2.30pm
  • King Cross Library: Wednesday 27 March and Wednesday 3 April, 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Todmorden Library: Wednesday 27 March and Wednesday 3 April, 10.30am – 2.30pm
  • Central Library, Halifax: Thursday 28 March and Thursday 4 April, 11.00am – 3.00pm
  • Brighouse Library: Thursday 28 March, 11.00am – 2.30pm

Where some households may have been prevented from switching because of an outstanding balance to their current supplier, a further auction later in the year is being considered after the summer. This should give households an opportunity to get their accounts back in credit during the spring and summer months when energy use is lower. If you need advice about saving energy, debt on the fuel account, moving from a pre-payment meter or anything else related to your fuel bills, please visit Calderdale Housing or call 0845 245 6000.

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