First local authority-led energy supplier in over 60 years
OVO Energy and Cheshire East Council today announce a ground breaking partnership to slash energy bills for residents and businesses in the Cheshire East area.
Cheshire East will be the first local authority in the country to launch a local energy supplier using OVO Energy’s pioneering OVO Communities model, which will offer substantial savings to over 170,000 households and businesses, including social housing residents, versus the national average tariff rates charged by the ‘Big Six’ suppliers. Cheshire East will be the first council to sell energy in the UK since the energy markets were nationalised in 1948.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO, OVO explains;
“From Spring 2015 Households in Cheshire East could save around £300 a year by switching from a big 6 energy company to their new local energy supplier. This is a significant amount of money that is currently just being wasted because people aren’t switching to a cheaper energy supply in the region.
“What’s more households that currently have prepayment meters will have access to smart meters that will enable them to move on to much cheaper tariffs. Households that are least able to pay high bills are often on prepayment meters and moving these customers on to lower tariffs could help with efforts to tackle fuel poverty.”
The partnership is part of Ovo Energy’s plan to democratise the energy market and increase innovation, and is the third such local partnership following hot on the heels of community energy groups Plymouth Energy Community and Community Energy South in just eight months.
OVO Communities is an ‘out of the box’ solution for local organisations which want to cut out the middle man and become an energy company themselves – from supply and generation, to smart technology and energy efficiency. OVO’s aim is to set up 100 community energy supplier partnerships across the country, ultimately serving over a million customers.
Cheshire East Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said today: “The alleviation of fuel poverty is a key priority for us.
“This is yet another innovation for Cheshire East Council which will have a direct financial benefit for residents.
“We have already frozen council tax for four consecutive years. Now we will ensure that low-income families who are worried about paying their bills can buy energy more cheaply and will not have to choose between heating and eating.
“I want the people of Cheshire East to live well and for longer and not to have to worry about meeting huge energy bills.”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO, OVO concluded;
“We launched OVO Communities because we really believed the UK energy market was ripe for big changes. We want to provide a platform where people can come together, create their own systems, build their own innovations and create genuine partnerships. As our first local council partnership we are really excited to have the opportunity to literally put the power back into the hands of the people in the North West region.”
For more information please contact: Gemma Pryor | Corporate Communications Lead | 07968318149 Shula Smith | Head of PR and Communications | 07863342317
OVO has invested significantly in scalable systems that will give community groups, local authorities and housing associations all the tools they need to run a utility business including customer service, billing, trading, and power generation. The company will also offer advanced smart metering, power purchasing and energy efficiency installations as part of its new platform.
All OVO Communities partnerships are subject to final legal and regulatory approvals as appropriate.
You Gov research earlier this year revealed that three times more people believe they would get a fairer deal from a local community energy supplier than a big energy company, proving that community energy solutions are the future.
Community Energy South (CES) is an unincorporated association of community energy groups across Southeast England, including Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.
Plymouth Energy Community is a members’ co-operative which was established in 2013, with support from Plymouth City Council.
OVO Energy is the energy retail arm of OVO Group. The company was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. It has since established itself as one of the leading independent suppliers in the UK market, with approximately 400,000 customers and 600 permanent staff. OVO believes in simpler, fairer, cheaper energy.
About Cheshire East Council
Cheshire East Council is the third largest unitary authority in the North West of England after Manchester and Liverpool. It has a population of 370,100 and covers 450 square miles. The borough was established in April 2009 as part of the structural changes to local government in England, by virtue of an order under the Local Government Act 2007. It was formed from an amalgamation of the boroughs of Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe and Nantwich, and its council took over the functions of the Cheshire County Council within its territory. It employs 5,500 people and its headquarters is based in Westfields, Sandbach.