Big Switch proves to be a turn-on

THOUSANDS of energy customers who applied to become part of the Which? Big Switch have already begun the process of changing their energy supplier, the consumer association has announced.

So far, 36,757 customers have opted to take up the deal offered by Co-operative Energy, which will save them an average of £223.22 on their energy bills.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: “The Big Switch was a UK first, and despite some people saying it would fail, we managed to move the market by securing a new market leading deal and have already delivered an average saving of over £200. With over 36,000 people deciding to switch already, it is clear The Big Switch is a first that worked.”

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The idea behind the Big Switch was to encourage customers to group together to negotiate a better price from energy suppliers. However, the scheme ran into problems when many big energy suppliers decided not to sign up. The lack of the big competitors limited the numbers of people who could benefit.

Critics also expressed doubts that all those who had signed up to the scheme would actually go ahead and change energy suppliers. However, those fears have now been put to rest – leading campaigners to hail the scheme as a success.

David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, said: “Thousands of us have come together to challenge the power of the big gas and electricity companies. We’ve achieved a fantastic result. It’s great that the Co-op won. We’ve managed to really shake up the energy market. It proves that people-power works.”

Last month the Scottish Government said it was looking into similar schemes which would allow local authority tenants to band together to negotiate cheaper energy prices.