Energy switching scheme saves £3m in fuel bills

David McCourt

Greater Manchester councils said residents will save more than £3m as part of the UK's biggest energy switching scheme.

More than 35,000 people signed up for the Greater Manchester Fair Energy scheme throughout January, more than applied to join any other energy switching project of its kind in the country, with some expected to make savings of nearly £900 a year.

Those who registered for the scheme, led by Greater Manchester councils, were placed into a reverse auction and will be offered new energy deals over the next few days.

Companies such as Scottish Power, Ovo and Co-operative Energy have joined the auction. Scottish Power's bid was the first time one of the big six energy companies has successfully entered an energy-switching auction.

One dual fuel customer will be offered a saving of £892 a year, while another resident will be offered a saving of £770.

Deals will also be made available for people on pre-payment meters for the first time.

The total saving to be offered to people across Greater Manchester is £3.1m with an average saving of around £122 a year. Some people who applied for the scheme may not be offered discounts.

The scheme was run following the success of a similar project run by Oldham Council last year.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and chairman of the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub, said: "The sheer number of people who registered demonstrates the appetite there currently is for projects of this kind, while the fact that one of the big six energy companies successfully joined the auction shows that the industry is now taking schemes like this seriously.

"There is still much work to be done, with thousands of people in Manchester and beyond living in fuel poverty. Those who didn't register for this scheme have not missed the boat as we will be arranging a similar energy switching project over the next few months and I'd urge anyone who wants to save money to register their interest."

Although targeted directly at people living in Greater Manchester, the scheme was open to anyone in the UK. Another energy switching scheme will be held in spring.

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