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Thursday 7 March 2013

Families Hit Back Over High Fuel Bills


Hannah and Sean Barton are a typical Cheshire East family - two young kids, not enough time and a raft of big bills each month.

But now a scheme to drive down energy bills could make life more affordable for them – and other Cheshire East families – by encouraging them to get together and save together, before April 8.

The Collective Energy Switching campaign encourages people to sign up - for free - and sees energy providers with the best bid win the ‘collective’ business during an online auction held on April 9.

Cheshire East Council is hoping to reach its target of 7,000 people signing up. There’s no obligation to switch and it could save customers more than £100 each year on their energy bills.

Hannah, 28, a housing officer, from Wistaston, near Crewe, said: “We just don’t have the time to look through all the different tariffs that energy providers offer and, to be quite frank, it’s just too confusing.

“There isn’t a moment in our household when energy isn’t being used and our bills are expensive.

“It is pretty annoying to keep hearing how energy companies are making huge profits in the face of families struggling to keep their homes warm during these cold winters.

“We will definitely think about joining the scheme because there’s nothing to lose and there’s no obligation to switch after the auction takes place.”

Husband Sean, 27, is an IT consultant who works from home while juggling child care responsibilities.

He added: “It can be cold working from home, so I have the radiator on during the day, which I’m sure adds to our heating bills quite substantially.

“I generally sort the bill payments out but I’m not always sure how our energy is worked out and I don’t really have the time.

“I have to consider that the time lost researching the best deals would probably end up with me losing money I could be making while working.

“It’s pretty frustrating really but this scheme sounds like it could take the hassle out of trying to find the best deal.”

  • Watch this short film about Hannah and Sean and please feel free to use it on your website to promote the scheme. The more people we get on board, the better buying power people will have:

Your one minute guide to Collective Energy Switching:


How does it work?

On April 9, we will conduct an online auction with the energy companies to see who will offer the best deal to residents. You will then receive a personalised offer to be able to make a decision whether to switch or not. The switch to a new energy provider is then handled on behalf of residents. To join the scheme log on to: or call 0300 123 5035.

Why are we doing it?

There are around 28,000 people in Cheshire East who are unable to afford to heat their home adequately, or are paying high bills that they can’t afford in order to keep their home warm. The UK as a whole has some of the highest levels of excess winter deaths in Europe. As energy prices rise, we anticipate that the problem will grow.

Where is it happening?

All across Cheshire East, and is promoted by a significant marketing campaign. But people who don’t live in Cheshire East can also take part in Cheshire East’s scheme, or can see if their local Council is running a similar campaign. One person can register up to four other households via email.

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