Friday, February 15, 2013 - 17:15

Supporters of Cornwall Together, the ground-breaking collective energy-buying group, gathered to launch the programme’s second round at the Eden Project today (Friday February 15).

The launch was hosted by Lord Matthew Taylor, former MP for Truro and St. Austell. Attending were representatives from the Cornwall Together partners and members of community groups.

Matthew Taylor said that Cornwall Together transforms individual people with no leverage into a huge, powerful customer.

He said: “The more people that take part, the cheaper the prices and the bigger the cash back Cornwall Together will win for us all. And it works – last year’s pilot scheme saved each customer an average of £133, and some saved many hundreds of pounds more.

“That’s why all our supporters - including Cornwall Council, the NHS, plus many Cornish businesses, housing associations and charities - are asking everyone to take part to ‘beat the bills’.”

Matthew Taylor and Matt Hastings, the Cornwall Together Programme Manager, introduced the second round of the project to attendees before taking questions and suggestions from guests on how to ensure the project has the maximum benefit for the county.

Ideas and pledges for help came from many of those at the meeting. Leaders of some of Cornwall’s biggest organisations promised to engage their staff and customers in the benefits of Cornwall Together. Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, continued her support for Cornwall Together in the first round by pledging to promote the project to her constituents.

Following the launch today, in the coming weeks a travelling roadshow in the shape of a living room on wheels will be visiting Cornish communities. There will also be events in community centres and pubs around the county.

The roadshow will be conveying the message that Cornwall Together is uniting the people of the county to negotiate their energy bills as a large group, with the aim of securing lower prices for everyone. It’s free to join and the more people who switch, the better the price will get. People will have until March 17, 2013 to take part either by visiting or calling 0800 7720925.

Matt Hastings said: “Energy-buying can be complicated but the essence of Cornwall Together is to keep it simple - we’re better off together.

“We are all facing rising costs of living. Trying to predict the energy market is like pinning a tail on a dancing donkey. Cornwall Together isn’t an energy company, it’s just a group of people buying together to save each other money.

“Cornwall Together was the first project of its kind and it has inspired other similar programmes around the country under the UK Together banner.”

Paul Treweek saved £120 on his energy bills in the first round of Cornwall Together. He said: “I would absolutely recommend Cornwall Together to other people. My wife and I have recommended it to friends already and told them that we’ve saved money by it. And I’m going to make it my mission now to get my mother and father signed up to it. If they can do it then anyone can do it!”

Cornwall Together is supported by some of Cornwall’s leading organisations and employers, Cornwall Council, the NHS, St. Austell Brewery, Unison, Locality, CAB Cornwall, Age UK Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Cornwall Housing, Ocean Housing, Volunteer Cornwall, and Community Energy Plus who will be promoting it to their staff and members.

Cornwall Together has now entered its second phase after saving its members an average of £133 on their annual bill in its first round last year.

Cornwall Together is one of four regional collective energy-buying projects under the banner of UK Together, the national buying group that came out of Cornwall. The other projects are in Birmingham and Solihull, Exeter and Scotland. Cornwall Together will invest 10 per cent of the revenue generated from each energy switch into a fund which will address fuel poverty in Cornwall.

Nearly 10,000 people joined Cornwall Together in the first round, with some households saving as much as £700 on their annual bill. The group aims to reach out to the whole Cornish population, significantly increasing the membership base and financial savings from the first round where more than £150,000 of savings were delivered to the people of Cornwall.

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

They were joined by further delivery partners, Cornish based energy platform, energyshare, and, the independent price comparison and switching service.