Power to the people!

Lord Peter Smith

Lord Peter Smith

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A RADICAL new scheme that uses “people power” to save residents in Wigan up to £250 on their energy bills was launched this week.

Wigan Council has teamed up with 10 other local authorities in Greater Manchester to launch the energy-saving co-operative scheme and are urging residents to sign up.

The scheme means it is possible to “bulk buy” gas and electricity from energy companies to get a better deal for home owners.

More than 8,500 people signed up to a similar scheme run by Oldham Council last year – saving an average of £171 on their fuel bills.

One family saved £779 after switching from their previous supplier.

Under the scheme, the group then enters a “reverse auction” and gets a cheaper deal together on gas and electricity from energy companies.

Residents just need to produce a copy of their current energy bill to register an interest before the scheme closes on January 28, and anyone who enters will receive an offer for a new rate which they do not have to accept. The scheme is also open to residents who use pre-payment meters.

Energy companies, who have hiked gas and electricity to £1,300 for the average home, will be invited to bid for their business by scheme bosses, with prices driven down as they compete with each other.

The more people who sign up, the better the deal is likely to be for bill-payers.

The idea of boosting bill-payers’ buying power was developed in Belgium and is now commonplace in many European countries.

Lord Smith (pictured), leader of Wigan Council, said: “We fully support this initiative. High energy bills have been a matter of concern for some time and here is an opportunity for people to take positive action to reduce the amount they pay. I’d encourage residents to seriously think about signing up for the scheme.”

You can join the scheme from today until midnight on Monday, January 28 via the website or a hotline phone number.

All you will need is an existing energy bill. To sign up and for more information visit www.gmfairenergy.com or call 0800 009 3363.