Southend Energy saves residents over £100,000 since launch

Published Wednesday, 5th August 2015

Southend Energy logo

Customers of recently launched energy partnership Southend Energy have collectively saved over £100,000 on their energy bills.

The energy supply partnership between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and OVO Energy  launched at the end of May with the mission of providing residents with a fair deal for their energy.

It is only one of three such partnerships currently set up between a local authority and an energy company and is already attracting interest from other local authorities keen to help inject competition into a market dominated by just six big companies.

With a limited marketing budget, the partnership has now attracted nearly 500 customers, who have saved an average of £242 each on their energy bills. 

Cllr Ian Gilbert, Substitute Member for Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development, welcomed the landmark saving. He said: “Southend Energy is blazing a trail in the energy market by providing local competition to a market dominated by six big businesses. By working with OVO, we’ve been able to offer a bespoke tariff for Southend residents and businesses that is not just fair for your first year as a customer but is fair for as long as you remain a customer.

“Southend Energy has set standing charges at a low rate and even pay interest on credit balances.  There are no exit fees, so customers can leave for a better deal at any time.  To reflect the Council’s Green objectives, the lowest costing tariff includes 33% renewable energy as standard compared to the industry average of 16.7%, whilst a 100% renewable tariff is also available, called Southend Energy Greener. 

“I’m delighted that Southend Energy has got off to a steady start. For our customers, I’d like to say thank you and urge you to recommend the service to friends and relatives. To residents who haven’t yet switched, I’d encourage you to visit www.southendenergy.co.uk to find out if you could save.”

Competition is out there

Competition watchdog the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) this month published the findings of a lengthy investigation into competition in the energy market. It concluded that there is, in fact, a great deal of competition but that the majority of consumers are losing out by not switching to ensure they get the best deal.

With only 10% of consumers managing their energy contracts regularly and switching to achieve the best deal, many households could be paying up to 20-25% more than they need to for their electricity and gas.  As with many commodities and services, some energy companies attract customers by offering very competitive rates for first year sign-ups which increase in subsequent years.  On average, households spend 8-10 years with the same energy supplier whilst a large proportion of consumers have never changed. These are known as ‘sticky customers’ and the Council has carried out detailed research and focus groups to find out how we can attract those people to Southend Energy.

In Southend-on-Sea, an estimated 40,000 households could save up to £242 a year on average with possible saving in the local economy of £9.5m. The potential benefits of this saving locally will depend on how residents use the money.  Southend-on-Sea has a large proportion of elderly people and households in fuel poverty who may use the savings to heat their homes better – in this event, the benefits will be felt as there will be reduced impacts of fuel poverty on health and health services. 

Where households choose to spend the money, a large increase in activity will be felt in the economy.  However, the Southend Energy proposition is a potential benefit to all local residents and not just those in fuel poverty.

For more information or to switch please see www.southendenergy.co.uk or call 0800 408 6711.