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Energy and Climate Change

Collective energy switching

Common questions about collective switching schemes

How can I register for the scheme?

Registering for the scheme is quick and simple, you just need to know your current energy tariff and your energy usage, either in £s or KWhs(if you don't know this you can find out from your energy supplier).  It's best to apply online, if you don't have access to e-mail then a friend or family member can register for you. If you are unable to register online then you can register over the phone on 01962 846828, lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

How does collective switching work?

Collective switching schemes use the potential combined prchasing power of anyone who registers to attract energy companies to participate in a 'reverse auction'. During the reverse auction, the energy companies 'bid' with their lowest tariffs in the hope of securing the maximum number of new customers through the scheme.

The reverse auction takes place over one day and the energy company who offers the lowest tariff wins. Once the auction has ended, the scheme will contact everyone who registered to inform them how much they could save if they switched. Residents are under no obligation to switch, however if they decide to switch the whole process will be managed by the scheme.

Is there a fee for joining the scheme?

Joining the scheme is free to access and use. There is no fee at all for registering or switching.

Why should I take part?

Collective switching offers consumers a simple and easy way to save money on their electricity and/or gas bills. Switch Hampshire will take away the hassle and confusion of switching supplier(s), and will manage the whole process for you. It is completely free to take part, and there is no obligation to switch supplier.

If I sign up do I have to change suppliers?

No, there is absolutely no obligation for consumers to switch. Once we have received the best offer from the energy suppliers we will contact you with your personalised savings estimates. It is then up to you to decide whether you want to switch or not.

Will everyone definitely save money?

We cannot guarantee that everyone will save money. The amount you save will depend on your current tariff and what deal the energy suppliers offer. However we aim to secure the best deal for as many customers as possible.

How much will I save?

Based on previous schemes run in the UK, it is anticipated that residents could make savings on their energy bills of between £60 and £200 per year, depending upon their current tariff(s) and their personal circumstances. Average savings from the first Switch Hampshire scheme were around £90 (for dual fuel online direct debit customers)

How long will it take?

A typical collective switching scheme takes 2-3 months to run, from start to completion.

Will it be the same supplier for both gas and electricity?

Not necessarily. The best deal for you could mean one combined tariff or separate tariffs with one or two suppliers. This will be made clear when the offer is made.

Who’s behind it?

The scheme will be organised by Hampshire County Council in partnership with the Hampshire district and borough councils together with Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils. These local authorities will work in partnership with an energy switching service provider selected by Hampshire County Council on behalf of the other partners.

If I choose to switch, will I be tied into a contract?

Yes, if you choose to switch you will enter into a contract with your new supplier.

We can’t confirm the type of tariff we’ll be able to offer until we’ve negotiated with the energy suppliers. But we will make clear to you in your offer whether, if you choose to, you will switch to a variable or fixed rate tariff, and how long any contract will last for.

Often fixed term contracts do come with a termination charge. If you choose to terminate your contract early once you have switched, you may be required to pay an early termination charge. You should always check the terms and conditions of your contract.

Does the tariff I get depend upon how many people register, or how many people switch?

The tariff deal negotiated with the energy suppliers depends upon the number of people registered, not the number that then choose to switch. The scheme will negotiate with energy suppliers to enable them to offer tariff deals for the group of registered consumers. Once the offer is made to you, it doesn’t matter how many people choose to switch. The offer is still valid for you.

In order to gain the maximum number of resistrations, Switch Hampshire joins up with a number of other Local Authority Schemes, under the umbrella partnership of the Big Community Switch.

Will the scheme offer me a bespoke tariff?

The tariff offered depends on what the energy companies are willing to offer on the day of the reverse auction. In some cases this is a bespoke tariff, in others it is one of their existing low tariffs.

Has this ever been done before?

Similar schemes have been run very successfully in the UK and in mainland Europe.

Do I have to be willing to take up an online tariff or pay by Direct Debit to take part?

No. Taking these steps will automatically help to reduce the cost of your energy, but there could still be a saving even if you want to continue paying by cash or cheque.

If I am on a fixed price tariff can I take part?

Yes. Once we have received an offer from the energy suppliers we will contact you with tailored savings estimates.

Can I switch if I receive a feed in tariff from Solar Panels on my roof?

Answer: Yes you can! Contracts for payment of Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) are separate from supply contracts. You will be able to switch your supply contract without having to make any changes to your FiT payment arrangements, as the these are fixed in duration. Switching your supply contract will not affect the amount you receive from your FiT, as the rates are set by the government, not the supplier.

What about prepayment meters, are these included?

The scheme will do all it can to include pre-payment metres and keys in the scheme and to get the best deal for these customers.

What if I am in debt on my energy bill?

If you are in debt you may not be able to switch, we suggest you contact your energy supplier to discuss this.

What if I am a business?

Switch Hampshire is also running a separate scheme for businesses. For further details see Switch Hampshire

What about oil, LPG, coal or timber?

Although the Switch Hampshire scheme is unable to cater for residents who use the energies listed above, a list of useful information and sources are available on: Heating oil

Is there any risk to my personal data?

No, all personal data provided will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).


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