£25 million of savings

Some good news. We’ve just got the results for our 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.

The winning tariffs from Co-operative Energy will be £1,048 a year for the average household if they pay by Direct Debit, and £1,144 a year if they pay by cash or cheque. This means that on average people who have signed up could save £119 if they pay by Direct Debit, or £182 for those who pay by cash or cheque.

200,000 households will be offered an average saving of £123 a year. An estimated 35,000 households, currently on the worst value tariffs, could reduce their bills by over £200.

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 e-mails 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 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 UK energy customers up to £25 million. And we know that if we keep working together, we can do much more in the future.

Do you have any ideas about what we should be doing next to help bring down gas and electricity bills? Share your ideas and see what other members are suggesting below.