London Councils Energy Update

June 2013: The Chair’s report to the London Councils ‘Environment and Transport’ Committee, which took place last week, included the following update on the Big London Energy Switch, and a communication from London Councils to the Secretary of State at DECC on the Energy Bill.

Collective Energy Switching
2. The first auction for the Big London Energy Switch (BLES) was held on 9 April, with the switching provider (iChoosr) negotiating on behalf of about 150,000 residents across the country – the highest number of participants in a UK auction of this kind. The BLES secured 26,436 registrations of which 71% were able to save an average £122 per year.

3. The deadline for residents to decide whether they wanted to take up their offer from the auction was 20 May. Initial indications are that about 7% of those that signed up with the scheme accepted their offer, which is close to the proportions for previous collective switching schemes.

4. There will be another auction on 4 June, for which the BLES is doing low-key promotion rather than proactive engagement as for 9 April. However, we are planning another auction in early autumn with additional engagement targeted at signing up vulnerable residents and those in fuel poverty. This will use the remaining DECC funding (currently estimated at around £100k) and any registration fees from the April and June auctions.

5. We have established regular BLES meetings with iChoosr in the run up to the autumn auction to ensure improved liaison and knowledge-sharing and ultimately resident engagement. Our evaluation partner, the Energy Saving Trust, is beginning its evaluation of the scheme and we will build in learning from this for the autumn auction.

Energy Bill
6. Cllr West wrote to the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, to highlight issues for boroughs on domestic energy tariffs and energy efficiency relating to the Energy Bill. We are now seeking a meeting with officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change to discuss these.

7. The Bill itself is due to enter the Lords shortly, after having been considered in the Commons, and we are considering what further lobbying activity may be required.

It’s interesting to see that only 7% – or 1,850 households eventually took up the Big London Energy Switch offer – and – as stated – such a percentage is typical of these collective swtiching schemes. The Chair’s note doesn’t say who the provider selected was: it was Sainsburys. The following blog by iharrow. com highlights that the offer didn’t work for everyone – which is to be expected.

As the Chair’s report notes, an evaluation process is currently being undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust – which will be interesting to see – and the output from that will feed into the next auction to take place sometime in the Autumn.

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