Councils and social housing landlords unite to challenge dominance of Big Six suppliers
The energy market is poised for a revolution as councils and social housing landlords across the UK prepare to take on the Big Six providers by supplying their own electricity.
From Plymouth and London, to Nottingham, Bristol and Berwickshire, local authorities are working on plans to set themselves up as electricity and gas retailers, and promising to significantly undercut the traditional suppliers.
Some are promising to cut at least £100 from the average household dual-fuel bill of about £1,300 a year. Initially, the new suppliers will look to sell electricity generated by other power companies but in the longer term many plan to produce their own energy, through renewable sources such as wind and solar.
The move comes amid growing discontent at the big energy firms, which have consistently come at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys after continued price hikes over the past few years.
A consortium of eight Scottish housing associations and a renewable energy charity is close to signing a financing deal which would allow it to supply power to tens of thousands of households. Last month, the independent supplier Ovo signed a deal with Plymouth council that will allow the city to become the first in the UK to provide its residents with energy. It believes that as many as one million customers could be served in the next few years by local authorities with the company’s help in setting up as energy providers. By 2020, it hopes that as many as 500 partnerships could be formed across the country.