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Cheaper energy bills aim for Norwich people as city council eyes French connection

PUBLISHED: 12:33 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 12 November 2018

Norwich families would get cheaper energy bills under a new city council initiative, leaders say. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Norwich families would get cheaper energy bills under a new city council initiative, leaders say. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

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People could be given the chance to buy electricity and gas via Norwich City Council, with City Hall leaders saying it should mean cheaper bills for those who sign up.

Karen Davis, Norwich City Council cabinet member for social inclusion. Pic: Stuart Goodman.Karen Davis, Norwich City Council cabinet member for social inclusion. Pic: Stuart Goodman.

Norwich City Council is looking to join forces with French company ENGIE Power Ltd to create what is known as an “energy white label” company.

That would see the council create a ‘brand’, with a name such as, for example, Norwich Energy, which customers would sign up to.

But the electricity would be provided by the supplier, which would also do all the back office work such as billing, customer service, meter reading and so on.

The council says bills should be lower than the standard variable tariffs because some of the money raised from acquiring customers will be used to subsidise energy costs.

And customers will also know both gas and electricity will be from entirely renewable sources, the council says.

The council has run a Switch and Save campaign in recent years encouraging people to make savings on their power bills by swapping suppliers.

While council bosses say that initiative will continue, the idea is the new energy supply service will offer a longer-term ‘fair deal’ for customers, while also generating money for City Hall.

Karen Davis, cabinet member for social inclusion: “This is a project where tariffs will come in under the big six energy companies, offering 100pc renewable gas and electricity.”

With the energy company investing in the set-up and operation, she said: “There’s not a risk to the council, because it is partnering with an existing energy company.”

The aim is to attract at least 1,500 customers a year for the first three years.

As well as the normal tariff, there would be a pre-pay tariff and one community tariff.

The latter would cost £30 a year extra, but that money would go into a fund to support more vulnerable families.

The £30 extra would allow 31 days of energy to be donated to a ‘fuel poor home’.

Norwich City Council’s Labour-run cabinet will meet on Wednesday, November 14 to agree to award the contract to ENGIE Power Ltd.

The actual name of the white label company has yet to be decided, but the council hopes it will up and running next spring.

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