1. ITV Report

Can switching energy company help reduce your bill?

Can saving money on energy bills be as easy as switching supplier? Photo: ITV Tonight

Energy bills are something we all have to put up with, but with British Gas warning of price hikes heading our way this winter and energy bills climbing five times faster than incomes, is there anything we can do to try and bring them down?

In the latest episode of ITV1’s Tonight show, Jonathan Maitland finds out if “The People's Power” can pay off by getting us cut-price deals on our energy bills.

In February, Jonny lent his name to a campaign run by consumer group Which? and online group 38 Degrees called The Big Switch. Its aim was to find out if, by coming together as consumers, we could negotiate cut-price energy bills.

It is the first time in the UK that this has been attempted, but will it work?

Richard Lloyd from Which? explains what’s at stake:

Well the best case scenario is that we get tens of thousands of people onto a new tariff with an energy supplier that cares about them as customers offering them you know potentially several hundred pounds of savings over the course of the next year. If we can do that it would be fantastic it would be game changing in this market.

– Richard Lloyd, Which?
The Puddick family despair over their rising energy bills Credit: ITV Tonight

In the programme we meet the Puddick family who have been hit by increasing energy bills, and now estimate their bill for next year will be more than £2,000.

The Puddicks haven’t switched their energy supplier for eight years and so are interested to see if the collective switch could work for them. We follow their story and find out just how much money they will save by being part of things.

In the end, huge numbers of consumers signed up - well over 287,000 people by deadline day. But the question of how many of the energy companies will play ball and offer a cut-price deal to the collective switch goes right down to the wire.

We are there on deadline day to find out which of the companies turn up and which offer a deal.

Gas prices have risen steeply in the UK Credit: ITV Tonight

We also meet Gideon Lask, whose online company BuyaPowa.com is already pushing the boundaries when it comes to seeing what people are willing to buy collectively. He is offering the first ever chance to buy a new car in this way.

In Belgium, collective switching has been running for three years now. And the idea is already working for heating oil customers who are forming Oil Clubs to cut down their bills.

For more information please visit the following websites:

ITV Tonight is on ITV1 at 7:30pm tonight.