Date: 
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 17:40

The second round of the pioneering collective-buying group Cornwall Together closed at midnight on Sunday (March 17). Members were able to save an average of £112 on their annual energy bills – the biggest single saving being £715.

This round saw 1,174 households in Cornwall switch their provider through Cornwall Together, which makes a total of 2,326 households who have changed their supplier in both rounds of the project.

In total, people who switched in the second round of Cornwall Together saved nearly £132,000, making the savings for the people of Cornwall across both rounds £285,000.

As a result of the success of the first round of Cornwall Together late last year, three other regional projects were set up around the country, under the banner of UK Together. These sister projects are based in Birmingham and Solihull, Exeter and Scotland.

In total, the UK Together projects – including Cornwall – switched 2,261 households to a better deal, with an average saving of £124, making the total national saving nearly £282,000. In this recent round, a total of 16,976 people joined UK Together projects around the country, of which 8,366 were part of Cornwall Together.

In the coming weeks, the results of an in-depth research project which has examined attitudes to energy will be released.

Matt Hastings, Programme Manager for Cornwall Together, said: “We have completed our next step on the road to putting the power back in the hands of communities and have saved Cornish households hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process.

“Now the big question is: how can we apply this group-buying philosophy to other areas of our lives and start to completely re-model the relationship between people and companies?”

Matthew Taylor, Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, who is a supporter of Cornwall Together and launched the second round at an event last month (February), said: “With more than a thousand more Cornish switchers, Cornish households have saved another £100,000 plus from the energy companies. These savings prove the power of collective buying – but the research should also tell us how to encourage many more people to get together this way so they can save too.”

Steve Ford, Green Cornwall Programme Manager at Cornwall Council, said: “I am pleased that so many households have once again chosen to switch their energy supplier to get a better deal.

“Cornwall Together is leading the way in creating a step change in the way Cornish residents think about their energy, and I hope that the combined savings from this switching round will prove to others that switching makes sense and we can have more control over our energy bills. It is yet another example of Cornwall leading the way when it comes to transforming the way we interact with energy.”

Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health at NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said: “We are delighted to have supported Cornwall Together round two, a programme that helps deliver our aims through tackling fuel poverty and helping people live longer, better quality lives.

“More than 300 people die in Cornwall each winter due to not being able to afford to heat their houses. Cornwall Together, Winter Wellness and Inclusion Cornwall all tackle the causes of ill health and deliver improvements to the public’s health.”

Abbie Brook, Manager of UK Together, said: “We are impressed with the energy and commitment of the partners that went into Cornwall Together and the fantastic community engagement achieved. We now have some interesting insights into attitudes to energy buying and how to talk to people about their domestic energy decisions.”

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 Cornwall-based energy platform, energyshare, and uSwitch, the independent price comparison and switching service.

Cornwall Together is supported by some of Cornwall’s leading organisations and employers. St. Austell Brewery, Unison, Locality, CAB Cornwall, Age UK Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Cornwall Housing, Ocean Housing, Volunteer Cornwall and Cornwall Rural Community Council have promoted it to their staff and members.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change supported the second phase of Cornwall Together as part of its Cheaper Energy Together programme.

Those who would like to register their interest in being involved in any future rounds of Cornwall Together can still do so by visiting the website (www.cornwalltogether.com) or by calling 0800 772 0925.