Saturday, 12 May 2012

38 degrees update.

Some good news. 

We’ve just got the results for the people-powered bid to get cheaper gas and electricity prices. The Co-op has come forward with the cheapest offer. And it looks like those of us taking part could save a grand total of £25 million.

200,000 households that signed up will be offered an average saving of £123 a year.

This proves our plan to use our shared buying power to drive a harder bargain can work. But it's also great news that Co-operative Energy – a newer, smaller and more ethical supplier – managed to offer the cheapest deal. The Co-op offered us a better price than giants like British Gas. Maybe that's got something to do with their different business model – they don't pay their bosses whopping bonuses, and they’re keener on green energy. When thousands of us switch over, we'll send a signal to the huge, profit-hungry companies: gas and electricity customers are taking their power back!

This all started last autumn, when 38 Degrees members first voted to challenge spiraling gas and electricity bills. Thousands of us discussed what we should do. Together we came up with the idea of using our power as customers to try to get a cheaper deal. So we teamed up with consumer experts Which? and “The Big Switch” was born!

Since then we've worked together to build momentum. We’ve signed petitions. We’ve forwarded emails to our friends. We wrote to our MPs and local papers. And thousands of us signed up to take part and switch supplier. [4] It looks like all this hard work has paid off.

This is a great step forward – and a real challenge to the power of the gas and electricity giants. But let's hope it's just the start. This is about more than some of us saving money – it's about making sure that everyone can afford to heat their homes. For now the weather might be getting (at least a little bit) warmer. But there's still a risk that too many families will struggle to keep warm next winter.

So next time someone tries to tell us there is nothing we can do about gas and electricity prices, we've got a very convincing answer! We know that by working together in the last few months we've saved Great Britain energy customers up to £25 million. And we know that if we keep working together, we can do much more in the future.

[1] For more stats on the savings see here:
[2] You can read more about Co-operative Energy's ethical credentials here:
[3] Co-operative Energy is a mutual, which means it doesn't have shareholders and instead each customer gets a share in the profits. They commit to ensuring their carbon emissions are only half the national average. There are other small suppliers with different, and in some cases more ambitious, carbon targets such as Ecotricity and Good Energy.
[4] Read more articles on what we've done together here:

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