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A scheme to help drive down energy prices for businesses in the area has been launched by Peterborough City Council this month (July).
Ready to Switch for Businesses will target the 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Peterborough area to help give them access to cheaper gas and electricity prices, as well as free advice on how to avoid energy contract pitfalls, such as expensive rollover contracts.
The city council will lead the initiative alongside six other councils including South Holland, Wiltshire and Northumberland. Through this partnership the number of eligible businesses for the scheme is almost 60,000 across the UK.
The combined effort across several councils will help to increase the number of businesses signing up and will allow the scheme to negotiate better and at times exclusive rates, to help SMEs save more.
It’s thought that four out of five businesses are not doing anything about their energy bills and are paying up to 35 per cent more than they need to for their energy. This is mainly because owners of SMEs either don’t have the time or don’t know where to start looking for a new energy supplier as tariffs are not as readily available as domestic ones.
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are crucial to the nation’s economic recovery, so we must do all we can to help them thrive and grow.
“We know that many SMEs struggle to find the best deal for their gas and electricity. That’s why I welcome this initiative by Peterborough and its partner local authorities, and their ambition to help 60,000 SMEs.
“I encourage councils across the country to follow their lead to help small firms to find ways to cut their energy costs.”
Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “We’ve been working hard to bring about a scheme for businesses after helping to save money for hundreds of domestic customers. I understand how hard our business leaders work in the city and realise they never have enough time to do everything – this scheme is easy and straight forward and could save SMEs money that they don’t need to spend.
“This will benefit the local economy and the profitability of these businesses during hard economic times.”
John Bridge, Chief Executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is the first time I’ve heard of such a scheme targeted at business and it’s something we’ll be promoting to our members. Anything that can drive down costs and improve the bottom line for business has to be of benefit to both Peterborough’s and the wider economy.”
How does it work?
Ready to Switch for Businesses is free to use and there is no obligation to accept a new energy contract. Businesses just need to call 0800 038 0548 or visit www.readytoswitch.co.uk and request a call back. You will then talk to a business energy expert who can determine when your business can switch.
All that is needed for the registration process is the name of your current supplier, tariff and energy usage. Registration is now open and runs until 16 October 2013.
There is also no obligation for businesses to switch at the end of the process – every registered SME will receive their own personal offer and it’s up to them if they accept or not.
The city council will work with specialist companies iChoosr and Make It Cheaper, the UK’s no.1 energy comparison and switching service for businesses, to negotiate with energy companies on behalf of SMEs signed up to the scheme in order to get the best available tariff possible.
SMEs not in the city council area will also be able to sign up for the scheme.