A new scheme has been launched that could mean lower energy costs for your family all with a simple, free and no-obligation sign up.
Group buying or ‘collective purchasing’ is an initiative launched by Which? and 38 Degrees and is essentially a trial to help communities club together in the hope of driving down energy costs.
The more names that sign up for the scheme, the better the bargaining power. They do the leg work and sweet talk the energy companies for you, so you can be offered a more competitive deal. The idea is that the energy company would agree to lower rates because they’d be getting bulk sign-ups.
With the prospect of thousands of new customers it’s hoped the companies will offer some great rates, especially as there have been over 66,000 sign-ups so far.
What are the benefits?
Although the rates have not yet been revealed, once you sign up and the deal is secured you’ll be provided with a personalised saving estimate, meaning you can see exactly how much money you’d save by switching.
It is free to register your interest and there is no obligation to switch; but by signing up you increase the chance of finding a good deal. It really is all about the numbers.
The trial has already shown success in the Netherlands and the Government and the Department of Energy and Climate Change have both expressed support for the Big Switch. It’s a not-for-profit initiative with no catch, just a whole lot of potential savings.
Usually energy suppliers quote different rates for different regions in the UK, but another benefit of the Big Switch is that it’s a nationwide scheme and you can sign up no matter where you live.
One thing to bear in mind is that you can sign up if you’re on a fixed-rate tariff, although you may need to factor in the penalty for switching.
Why did the Big Switch come about?
It’s seen as the end to confusing tariffs and rip-off prices, and you can share the prospect of cheaper bills with your family and friends.
With 60% of consumers never having switched supplier and 75% on their supplier’s ‘default tariff’ you could be paying over the odds and not even know it.
Many people tend to feel switching suppliers can be confusing and time consuming, but the Big Switch hopes to eliminate all that by doing the hard work for you.
They say it is unlikely that the deal will mean that you would be tied into a contract that is any longer than 12 months, and if the Big Switch is a big success there may be a similar scheme run next year.
How do I sign up?
You can sign up via 38 degrees before 31 March 2012. All that’s required initially is a couple of contact details and then you’ll be asked via email to answer a few questions about your current energy supplier and current rate so the experts can ensure they get the best deal.
Once the deal is secured an outcome email and/or text will then pop up in your inbox with a personalised savings estimate. It’s then your choice to switch or stay with your current deal.
The exact logistics are not currently available until a deal is made but the whole process is set to be straightforward and easy. Plenty of information will be provided along the way, so if you decide to switch it will be as painless as possible.
Accepting the switch is pretty simple too, with no home visits required and it takes effect within four to six weeks.
Why not give it a go?