MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

ONE of the most common complaints I receive is about the cost of energy which is a problem for a great many families and householders.

Prices, of course, are governed by a huge number of factors, from oil and gas market prices to transportation costs, import and export costs and other market forces.

So I wanted to draw your attention to a tremendous campaign by ‘Which?’ magazine – The Big Switch.

The campaign, which is aimed at stimulating competition between energy providers to help drive down prices, has been backed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change who are keen to see it succeed.

Last year, of course, saw big price increases when energy companies transferred the rising international cost of gas to consumers.

But collective switching can play an important role in empowering consumers to negotiate a better deal.

This is a clear example of consumer choice acting in the interests of the majority thereby harnessing the power of the free market.

Alongside this, the Government’s ‘Check, Switch, and Insulate to Save’ scheme is making sure that consumers are aware of the potential savings they can make on their energy bills by switching tariff, supplier or payment method.

Consumers will also have the right to be switched within three weeks once their cooling-off period has elapsed and energy suppliers will be under a new obligation to speed up their switching processes.

I would urge you to visit www.whichbigswitch.co.uk for more information.

Seeking better deals on energy has been a recurring theme for me this week as I visited a brand new Fylde firm who play a similar role for business customers.

I was proud to cut the ribbon to officially open Local Green Energy – a new start up company based at Whitehills Business Park.

The company are experts in monitoring energy markets and bulk buying on behalf of consumers to help on costs and are headed by a young and enthusiastic group of people with Managing Director Asif Rizvi at the helm.

They also buy up locally made energy from their sister companies, Greengen and Farmgen, bringing local energy to local markets.

I wish them every success as they move forward with their exciting new venture.

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