Derby City Council looks at move to cut energy bills
COUNCIL officials are investigating whether to launch a scheme which it is thought could save the average family in Derby up to £200 a year on their energy bills.
The scheme could work in a similar way to one already starting in Derbyshire County Council's area.
The county authority's Big Deals bulk-buying scheme is bringing people together to get the best price on their gas and electricity bills.
Details of people joining Big Deals are passed on to Which? – the consumer organisation – which then negotiates with energy companies using the fact that they represent lots of customers to get the best deal.
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Each household is then told the offered price and makes the choice whether to switch or not.
Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa, city council cabinet member for planning, environment and public protection, revealed the Labour-led authority was also looking into an energy bulk-buying scheme.
Mr Dhindsa said council officers had been looking at a potential scheme for two or three months. He said: "We are planning to launch something but we want to make sure we've reviewed it.
"We will look at the county council scheme and review that. I'm committed to making sure we get the best deal for the people of Derby.
"It will need to go to cabinet for a final decision and we haven't got a date to do that yet but we are looking to bring this forward as quickly as possible."
The idea has also been backed by the city's Liberal Democrat group. Councillor Mike Carr said he could see "no drawbacks" to a scheme apart from the fact that "some employees would be needed to run the scheme, which costs money".
Mr Dhindsa agreed this was "one issue in terms of resources" but that the council would look "at all aspects (of a scheme)".
Mr Carr said he believed a scheme could save Derby families up to £200 from their energy bills.
He said: "Local councils such as South Lakeland District Council have been able to secure savings in the region of £100 to £200 as a result."
The district council's website says it already has 1,843 participants registered
Derbyshire County Council already has more than 14,000 people signed up to its energy scheme.
Anyone living in its area can apply to join the scheme by visiting www.derbyshire.gov.uk/bigdeals or call 01629 533365.