Council signs up to bright spark idea

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RESIDENTS are being invited to switch on to a new council-backed scheme to help lower their energy bills.

Hastings Borough Council has agreed to join the Big Community Switch in response to the demand for collective energy switching schemes.

On Tuesday evening, members of the Cabinet unanimously agreed to join the scheme which will start in September.

Collective energy switching (CES) enables residents to engage with the gas and electricity market as a group to secure a better deal for their supplies.

A report to members by Jane Hartnell, head of corporate services, said the average household energy bill had risen from £600 to £1,200 since 2004.

Research showed that residents often pay £300 a year more than they need to for their energy.

CES works in the follow inway.

If an area has 50,000 residents, three to 10 per cent sign up. An energy auction is held where suppliers are invited to bid the lowest price to supply to the collective.

The more auctions that are held the greater the interest as people start to hear about the deals on offer.

The scheme is free to join and the council will be given its own webpage to promote it.

For each switch the council will receive a referral fee of £5 per electricity or gas switch or £10 for both.

Cabinet chairman, councillor Jeremy Birch said: “We are very keen on this scheme.

“We win all ways round.

“One or two thousands people a year may sign up to it.

“We must work with our housing associtions.

“The most vulnerable financially in our society can join in.

“And we want the public to come up with a slogan to help market the scheme.”