PEOPLE in Thurrock will be able to save money by getting cheaper energy bills in the New Year, thanks to a new energy scheme being set up by the council.
Residents will be able to sign up to the scheme for free in January. In February a broker will negotiate a special tariff direct with the major energy companies – because a large number of customers are buying at the same time, the price negotiated will be lower than most tariffs available on the market.
Residents will then have a 30-day “cooling off” period to decide whether they want to sign up. If they decide not to – for whatever reason – they can pull out with no penalties. If they do sign up, they have the option of switching to another tariff if they wish.
When the scheme has been tried in other places customers have saved up to £200 a year on energy bills.
Thurrock has been working closely with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to put the scheme together – the more people signing up the more negotiating power.
Fuel poverty is a major issue among residents of both boroughs and is becoming even more important as fuel prices rise and incomes fail to keep up.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “This is a perfect example of where working with another local council can bring benefits to both.
“We are always looking for ways in which we can help residents, especially in these difficult financial times and by combining with Barking and Dagenham we should each be able to reduce costs for local people.”
And Cllr Val Morris-Cook, deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing, added: “This scheme has been a success in other parts of the country, so when we looked at it in detail we thought this was something our residents could really benefit from.
“Even if you’re not facing fuel poverty this would be a benefit to each and every one of Thurrock’s residents – energy bills can be a horrendous financial burden, especially in winter.”
Cllr Kent said: “I’d urge everyone to sign up to this scheme – it’s an easy way to save money on your bills.”
Further details on how people can sign up will be announced in January.
Good idea, except with the recent rises many will have already signed up to a fixed tariff with a penalty for early withdrawal.