People power – Better Together
Cherwell and West Oxfordshire District Councils are joining forces to help residents save money on their energy bill through the new ‘Better Together’ campaign. The campaign aims to build up a large group of householders to whom energy companies then offer a cheap deal on gas and electricity.
Run by iChoosr, a intermediary who has operated similar schemes in the UK and Europe, the campaign is led by Cherwell and West Oxfordshire District Councils to help Oxfordshire residents with spiralling energy costs and to tackle the problem of fuel poverty.
The public is encouraged to register with the campaign then iChoosr runs an auction amongst the energy companies who bid to offer the cheapest prices to the group.
Gabi Kaiser is services development manager at Cherwell who is heading up the project on behalf of both councils. She says: “By joining forces we’re a better customer for the energy company. We offer them a whole host of households to supply, and with more likely custom, they offer a more competitive price. However it’s important to note that no one’s obliged to switch supplier, at this stage we just want interested parties to register so we can get the best rate.”
Once the auction has taken place the council steps back to allow the individual to decide whether to switch to the new deal, when they can compare the price to their current utility costs. Residents will still pay their own bills but hopefully at a cheaper price.
Retail energy prices have more than doubled in less than eight years. The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) estimated the average household fuel bill was approximately £600 in 2004 compared with £1,310 in 2012.
Cllr David Harvey is portfolio holder for the environment at West Oxfordshire District Council. He says: “All people need do now is register an interest before the 8th April so we can approach the energy companies with a strong customer base. Residents just need a copy of their latest gas and electricity bill so we can compare prices for them. The rest of the work is done by iChoosr who will contact individuals once they have the deal.”
Registration runs until the 8th April.
People can register online at www.bettertogetheroxfordshire.co.uk, by calling the free phone number: 0800 107 0044, or in person at:
Town Centre Shop, Witney OX28 6JH, open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.