Time is running out for hard-pressed consumers who want to save money on their gas and electricity bills.
Almost 2,000 householders have already signed up for Nottinghamshire County Council’s Switch ‘n’ Save scheme - with savings of around £200 a year available on home energy bills - but the offer is only available until Wednesday 20 March.
The County Council has teamed up with leading consumer organisation, Which? to set up the scheme.
Which? will use the collective buying power of those signing up to collectively negotiate the best possible price for its members, with energy companies competing for their custom.
When Which? has run the scheme elsewhere, it has managed to secure an average annual saving on gas and electricity bills of £223 per home.
Joining the Nottinghamshire Switch ‘n’ Save scheme is easy – you just need a recent gas and electricity bill to hand to get a quote tailored to your household’s fuel usage.
You can even register on behalf of up to five people using one email address – ideal for family, friends, neighbours and older people who don’t use computers or the web:
Online: visit the County Council’s website, www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/switchnsave
In person: go to a Nottinghamshire County Council Customer Service Point, where an advisor will help people complete the Switch ‘n’ Save form (see Notes to Editors for list of locations)
By phone: call 0300 500 80 80 and quote ‘Switch ‘n’ Save flyer’. Advisors will take your details and complete the form on your behalf.
Registering puts you under no obligation to ultimately go ahead with the switch, but you must be registered by 20 March to be made an offer.
Latest figures show that the average gas and electricity bill has risen to £1,264 following price rises of 20% in 2011 and a further 11% late last year.
Despite the price hikes, energy firms have continued to post large profits. British Gass announced an 11% increase in profits from domestic supplies on 27 February, with NPower saying its profits had increased by 25% last week.
In Nottinghamshire, almost 20% of households spend more than 10% of their income on heating and lighting their homes, meaning they are effectively living in ‘fuel poverty’ (see table in Notes to Editors for district-by-district breakdown).
Coun Reg Adair, Chairman of Finance and Property Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “With the recent warning from Ofgem that Britain faces five more bleak years of spiralling gas and electricity bills, it is vital that as many people as possible take advantage of this one-off offer. If you don’t get the best deal for your gas and electricity, your hard-earned savings are going up in smoke.
“Shopping around for the best energy prices can be time-consuming and confusing, but Switch ‘n’ Save does all the hard work on your behalf - after the five minutes it takes to register, you just need to sit back and let us secure the cheapest deal for you.
“After mortgage or rent, energy bills are now the highest outlay for many homes. It would be much better for the local economy for Notts families to have more money in their pockets, than to have it swelling the profits of the rich energy companies.”