There have been big changes in the world of energy over recent years, the effects of which are now filtering down to domestic energy customers and are changing the way we think about energy use in our homes. As our UK energy system gradually evolves to become cleaner and greener, with sustainable power sources such as wind and solar energy replacing traditional sources, our communities and households will of course reap the long-term benefits. However, this is not the only positive change to impact energy customers. Decentralised energy schemes – where energy is generated off the main grid – are a growing feature of our energy system, as are community energy schemes. Both can make a real difference in local areas, particularly where supplier switching levels are low and fuel poverty is high. Here, we take a closer look at why community energy is on the rise and what it could mean for you and your energy bills:

By the community, for the community

Put simply, community energy schemes are designed to provide a trusted alternative to ‘the big six’ and give local communities a way to secure fairly-priced energy contracts, both for individual households and for community projects. Often run or partially run by volunteers and sometimes linked to community green-energy initiatives, schemes such as Bristol Energy and Robin Hood Energy support local economic, social and environmental aspirations. Each one is different, but the focus is the same: benefit for the community, increased engagement and better choice.

Fairer power choices for Cheshire East

One great example of a growing community energy scheme is Fairerpower, a partnership between Cheshire East Council and OVO Energy that has fair prices, transparency and community benefit as its primary aims. Tariffs are carefully set and monitored by the local council to ensure that all customers get a competitive deal on their energy, whilst also benefitting from the high service levels that OVO is recognised for. Cheshire East make no profit from their tariffs to make sure residents get their best possible price, any residual funds raised by the scheme once the books are balanced are put back into the local community through fuel poverty initiatives. Since launch customers who pay monthly have saved an average of £232 [1], with great deals available for pre-pay customers too. Through the partnership with OVO, Fairerpower is even able to give customers a 3% Interest Reward on credit balances [2]. It all adds up to a much fairer deal on power.

Face to face switching you can trust

Households in the Cheshire East area are now being offered the opportunity to move their energy to Fairerpower by Don’t Waste Money’s ‘doorstep’ agents, meaning that those less comfortable with new technology  – and less likely to save by switching online – will have a new way to access savings. Interested householders will be guided through the switching process by a carefully trained agent and will later be contacted by telephone to check that they have understood exactly what is happening with their energy accounts and that they are still happy to make the change. Residents can expect agents to show them accurate, up to date calculations via an iPad before making their decision. Unlike doorstep switching of the past, this is a carefully monitored process and offers customers a reliable route to significant savings.

 Did you know… ?

86% of domestic energy customers are still with one of the Big Six providers

40% of all customers have never switched provider

74% of households are on an expensive standard variable tariff

Switching to a community energy scheme could mean savings of between £200 and £300 per year

 

If you’re interested in speaking to one of Don’t Waste Money’s doorstep agents about switching your energy supplier, why not get in touch and we’ll arrange a visit.


[1] £232 is the average saving of dual-fuel customers that pay monthly and have actually switched to Fairerpower between 16/103/15 and 31/12/16; individual savings will vary according to current supplier, location, consumption and Fairerpower tariff options.

[2] Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: www.ovoenergy.com/coreterms2015