PEOPLE power is being harnassed to help tackle the spiralling cost of energy bills.
A residents’ association has been set up in Egremont with plans to improve the image of the area and set up a fuel co-operative to help residents struggling with the cost of fuel.
The New ERA group (New Egremont Residents’ Association) has set a target for 1,000 members, inspired by the success of a similar energy scheme in Oldham.
And Wirral’s Lib Dems want the idea to be taken a step further, with a borough-wide scheme which would see Wirral Council brokering a deal with energy providers.
The proposals – dubbed “Power to the People” – are set to be considered at next week’s full council meeting.
Acting chairman Tony Parry said: “We want people to join us and we want to form a fuel co-operative. I believe it would work if we could sign up 1,000 households.
“If we could get everyone in the area to sign up it gives us bargaining power and we can go to the fuel companies to get a lower price.
“It’s been done in Bruges in Belgium and I believe Oldham Council are running a similar scheme with their residents.
“People have an unfair perception of this area and residents believe it’s been neglected. We want to bring back the good name of Egremont.”
Oxton Liberal Democrat Councillor Stuart Kelly said Wirral needed to follow in the footsteps of Oldham, Cornwall and South Lakeland, where other fuel co-operatives and collective energy switching initiatives have already been established.
Cllr Kelly said: “The concept is simple. Residents across Wirral would join together and when enough households have signed up the council brokers a deal with the energy providers to get the best deal for everyone’.”
The motion – backed by Eastham Councillor Phil Gilchrist – calls on the council to help residents struggling with fuel bills.
It asks officers to explore the feasibility of setting up a Wirral Energy Switching Initiative and to work with housing associations, the NHS and voluntary groups to increase awareness.
A similar motion was recently approved by Liverpool City Council.
Cllr Kelly said: “Instead of one household making a small saving, whole communities will be able to make savings on their bills.’
“Working as a collective across Wirral the Council could take effort out of switching and get a better deal for everyone.”