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Collective energy deals – should you switch?

With more and more collective switching schemes popping up, is it worth getting involved?

Collective switching is when a group of people get together and use group buying power to secure a deal from an energy supplier.

How do they work?

Typically these initiatives will be put together by a third party, such as a switching website, a local council, or a private company. The organisers try to get as many people as possible to sign up and then run an auction among energy suppliers. The supplier which makes the best offer wins and everyone who signed up to the scheme has the option of taking up the new energy plan.

Collective schemes are popular at the moment as energy suppliers are only allowed to offer four core energy tariffs. A collective switch offers them a chance to put out an additional tariff and attract new customers.

Should you take part?

Collective switching initiatives have led to some great deals in the past few months and can be worth signing up to. Recent schemes led by Money Saving Expert, The Big Deal and uSwitch have delivered some of the cheapest tariffs available on the market.

At the end of the day, a collective switch will provide you with an extra option if you’re looking for a new energy plan. Make sure you compare whatever you are offered with what’s on the market, particularly as there are currently a number of cheap, short-term fixed price tariffs available.

It is worth noting that collective schemes usually have a set deadline and switch date, so if you wait too long to sign up to one you might miss out. You may also end up waiting longer for your switch to go through, than if you switched as an individual as collective schemes can take more time to finalise.

How do I sign up to a collective switching scheme?

If you’re interested in taking part in a collective switch, have a look at what’s on offer. Many local councils, price comparison websites and even businesses run their own switching schemes.

Collective switching deals won’t appear on most comparison websites (unless they’re running one themselves!), so the best way to find one is to do some research online.

How much could I save?

Ofgem, the energy regulator, say that many homes could save close to £250 a year by changing to a less expensive plan. This figure is even higher for anyone who has never switched energy plans.

Regardless of whether you decide to switch individually, or through a collective switch, it is always recommended that you review your options. Run a price comparison on a few websites before making your final decision.

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