The Big London Energy Switch

November 2013: London Councils’ Transport & Environment Committee recently discussed its initiative ‘The Big London Energy Switch‘ (further background to which is posted here). There have been two previous auctions through the collective energy switching scheme earlier this year, in April and June, and the initiative is now open to registration to users for a further auction to take place on 19 November. The London Councils’ paper highlights that a total of 1,847 residents switched through the first auction, saving on average £114 on their annual fuel bill.

Two more boroughs are now participating in this switch, bringing the total to 23. The note highlights some findings from the evaluation of the programme, undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust, stating:

  • The scheme was effective at engaging with vulnerable residents, as evidenced by the high proportion of vulnerable residents that signed up, compared to the average proportions in London’s population – 41 per cent of those that registered their interest in the scheme indicated that they receive benefits.
  • The tariffs offered from the energy companies for the spring auction were not attractive enough to persuade the expected proportion of registrants to make the switch – only 9 per cent of full registrants actually switched.

The note also highlights that the auction was originally set to take place in October however – “following discussions with energy suppliers, the date of the auction would be pushed back to 19 November…  The reason is that there have been delays in Ofgem and the energy suppliers reaching consensus to implement the Retail Market Review (RMR) reforms, which are designed to make the market simpler and fairer for consumers.”

“Whilst changing the auction date is inconvenient for boroughs who have already publicised the date, the change increases the likelihood of energy suppliers providing bespoke tariffs in the auction and potentially increasing savings for the majority of residents.

“Overall we are disappointed that the date of the auction has been pushed back by a month, but hope that this will mean cheaper tariffs are offered by energy suppliers at auction and that more residents will be able to benefit from the scheme.”

The full EST evaluation report of the Big London Energy Switch, which includes 31 recommendations, can be downloaded here.

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