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Published : 12/12/2012 00:00

Bid to help people secure best energy deal

People in Leeds could switch energy suppliers and save hundreds on their energy bills if a new bulk fuel switching project gets off the ground.

Leeds City Council, working with Community Energy Direct and other Yorkshire local authorities, is bidding for money from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s ‘Cheaper Energy Together’ fund.

Senior councillors will hear about the £280,000 bid when the council’s executive board meets today (Wednesday 12 December).

If successful, the money would be used to set up and promote an energy switching scheme, known as an energysmart club.

Although the club will look to target those households who are suffering the most from the economic squeeze, membership of the club will be open to any resident in Leeds.

Once people are registered, the club will help people get access to the best energy deals in the market. It’s estimated that people could save an average of £115 by switching.

Existing community groups, carers, residents associations, charities, housing organisations and social groups will be key partners in the programme, helping to ensure people vulnerable to fuel poverty can benefit.

Community Energy Direct, a cooperative which has been working to help vulnerable households to get the best energy deal since 2009, is supported by Yorkshire based social enterprise, CO2Sense.

Any fees which are received by Community Energy Direct would be recycled to members through their local energysmart club to help them reduce their energy bills further, for example: by installing smart meters to monitor energy use; providing powerdown devices to cut energy use from everyday appliances; help people access renewable energy technology; and pay for assessments for further improvements available through the Green Deal.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment, said:

“Helping people access cheaper fuel prices in the face of spiralling energy costs is important. However, the crucial part of our proposed scheme is to help people cut the amount of energy they use in the first place so they pay less.

“By residents clubbing together in this way, and by working with our partners, we can negotiate a better deal and offer a service that will save money, cut energy use and ultimately help slash carbon emissions.

“It’s a win-win project all round and we hope for a positive outcome from our bid to ensure we can support some of our most vulnerable residents whilst making Leeds cleaner and greener.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk