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Friday 12 December 2014

Cheshire East and Ovo sign deal to bring Fairerpower to residents


Cheshire East Council is delighted to have entered into a contractual partnership with a recognised energy supplier to offer competitive energy in the Borough and, potentially, the wider North West region.

Cheshire East is the first local authority in the country to sign up with Ovo Energy, which aims to offer substantial savings against the national average tariff rates charged by the Big Six suppliers.

It means that Cheshire East will be the first council to sell energy in the UK since nationalisation in 1948.

Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said today (Thursday, December 11): “The alleviation of fuel poverty is a key priority for us.

“This is yet another innovation for Cheshire East Council which will have a direct financial benefit for residents.

“We have already frozen council tax for four consecutive years. Now we will ensure that low-income families who are worried about paying their bills can buy energy more cheaply and will not have to choose between heating and eating.

“I want the people of Cheshire East to live well and for longer and not to have to worry about meeting huge energy bills.”

The new deal, branded as Fairerpower, will potentially benefit all of Cheshire East’s 170,000 households and also those living in other parts of the North West region.  Businesses could also take advantage.

An estimated 9.5 per cent of domestic customers in the Borough are in fuel poverty, which is 0.9 per cent below the national average. But the Department for Energy and Climate Change has stated that rural areas are in general harder hit by rising energy prices because more people have to rely on electricity, oil or LPG for heating.

Unusually for any tariff offered by other suppliers, Fairerpower will also be available to those using pre-paid meters, and even those who may have fuel debt may be able to switch on a case by case basis.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO, Ovo: “We launched OVO Communities because we really believed the UK energy market was ripe for big changes. We want to provide a platform where people can come together, create their own systems, build their own innovations and create genuine partnerships. 

“As our first local council partnership we are really excited to have the opportunity to literally put the power back into the hands of the people in the North West region.”

Cheshire East Council is in negotiations to form a strategic partnership with the Borough’s largest registered housing providers – Plus Dane Group, Peaks & Plains and Wulvern Housing – to offer the deal to their tenants within their prescribed postcode areas, and would encourage any other social and public sector organisations, in and around the North West Region, interested in joining the partnership, to contact the Council.

OVO, as part of their Community Interest Initiative, is currently finalising terms with other like-minded organisations such as Community Energy South and Plymouth Energy Community and has a stated target of signing up as many as 200 local authorities, housing associations, and other community groups.

Before choosing Ovo, the Council carried out a rigorous procurement and evaluation process to ensure that the successful solution, and partner arrangement, is financially sound and can meet the Council’s criteria in terms of stability, customer service, and pricing strategy.

Business watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the six energy giants — British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy — which control 95 per cent of supplies.

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