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Leading politician backs scheme for cheaper Norwich fuel bills

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Caroline Flint MP, talks to Heartsease resident Colin Brighton about energy costs during her visit to Norwich.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Caroline Flint MP, talks to Heartsease resident Colin Brighton about energy costs during her visit to Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

The shadow secretary for energy and climate change has backed a scheme by Norwich City Council which City Hall leaders say will help get households cheaper fuel bills.

Shadow minister Caroline Flint was in Norwich on Saturday, where the East of England Labour Party held their regional conference.

She visited the Heartsease home of Bernard Matthews worker Colin Brighten, who is hoping the scheme will save him money on his fuel bills.

Mr Brighten said he is planning for his retirement and has added his name to some 1.600 who have signed up for the Big Switch and Save campaign because he wants to make sure he can continue to afford to keep his house warm.

Mrs Flint, a former student at the University of East Anglia, said: “As the cold winter weather heads towards us, and the energy giants are putting up all our bills, it is great that Labour in Norwich has led the way helping people to cut their bills now.

“The government may not be standing up to the energy giants, but Labour is offering a real chance for people to cut their energy bills today.

“We are the first political party in history to organise a collective switch, and Norwich City Council is playing its part too, giving 1,600 people the chance to buy energy with thousands of others, as one customer.”

The aim of the ‘Big Switch and Save’ campaign, for which registration closed at midnight yesterday, was to sign up households to switch their energy provider en masse.

The city council says that, by teaming up with other British collective switching schemes, the number will be swelled to about 18,000 households.

A specialist switching partner called iChoosr will then find what the city council says will be the best energy deal possible, using the collective numbers to drive a harder bargain with power companies.

While city council leader Brenda Arthur has said any profit from the scheme will be reinvested, Green councillors plan to ask questions at Tuesday night’s full city council meeting over what the switching partner stands to gain from the scheme.

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