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Lower energy bills hope as scheme grows

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 01, 2012

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A COLLECTIVE buying scheme to save householders hundreds of pounds on their annual electricity and gas bills is being extended.

Cornwall Together, which was launched at the Eden Project by Energy Secretary Ed Davey in July, has this week confirmed that more energy savings will be on offer with the launch of its second phase.

Nearly 10,000 people signed up to Cornwall Together 1 by the end of October to get a better deal on their energy bills. Around 80 per cent of those who joined were able to access a cheaper deal on their gas and electricity – with an average saving of £110.

The next phase of the initiative will begin in January.

More than 1,700 people who missed out the first time have already signed up to be part of the second round.

Project manager Matt Hastings said: "Round one was a great learning experience.

"We tried buying as a group in a way that's never been done before and in so doing support the people who are struggling most with high bills in relation to their income.

"Now we've built the model – and learnt some valuable lessons along the way – we are really keen to push ahead, improve our model and offer more savings for everyone."

Lucy Darch, director of energy at delivery partners uSwitch, said she was pleased with the result – but added that there were still a lot more savings to come.

"If everyone had switched, Cornwall Together could have saved Cornish households almost £990,000 in total," she said.

"This shows that collective purchasing can work and we hope that by demonstrating this, many more households may want to take part in future schemes."

Conceived by Eden, Cornwall Together was pioneered by Cornwall Council, Cornwall NHS and Community Energy Plus, to bring people together to reduce fuel poverty, encourage sustainability and strengthen community resilience.

Council chief executive Kevin Lavery said: "The response to the first round has been fantastic.

"Almost 30 per cent of people living in Cornwall are technically in fuel poverty, but Cornwall Together has shown we can help residents get a better deal on energy."

To register interest for the next round, visit www.cornwalltogether.com

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