Energy minister Ed Davey is launching a scheme designed to negotiate cheaper fuel bills in one of the country’s poorest areas which is being backed by local NHS trusts.
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will meet experts and officials at The Eden Project in Cornwall to launch the county’s collective purchasing scheme, to save Cornish households hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills and reap social benefits for the community.
Organisers say Cornwall Together will be powerful and large enough to negotiate cheaper energy bills, delivering Cornish households and businesses up to an estimated £3.7 million worth of savings.
It is thought to be the first time an entire county has united as a community to buy energy more cheaply, enabling it to also tackle economic problems, encourage sustainability, improve community resilience and people’s health and wellbeing, organisers say.
A Cornwall Together spokesman said some of the region’s biggest employers, including the local authority and the NHS, had backed the scheme. It will mean Cornish residents and businesses will be invited to visit the Cornwall Together website, www.cornwalltogether.com, with a copy of their energy bill and register their details to find a cheaper deal for their energy needs.
The spokesman added: “They will also be offered the option of energy from a more environmentally sustainable source. It is hoped more than 20,000 people may be able to reduce their energy bills by 10 to 15 per cent. In other words Cornwall Together aims to bring financial benefits to a community of a similar size to Cornwall’s most populous town, St Austell.”
As part of Cornwall Together’s social purpose, it will invest 10% of the revenue generated from each energy switch into a fund which will address fuel poverty. Cornwall Together will then seek match-funding from other organisations.
If the idea is successful, it could be rolled out across the rest of the country.