Scheme to lower energy bills
COUNCILLORS are considering a new scheme which will reduce energy costs for residents and businesses, writes Sian Davies.
In the plans, a local energy co-operative will be set up to negotiate lower bills on behalf of its members.
The co-operative, which will be made up of local people, will also share dividends with members and reinvest profits in schemes to tackle fuel poverty and reduce the city's carbon footprint.
Plymouth already has over 14,000 people in fuel poverty –where more than 10 per cent of their income is spent on heating their home - and prices are expected to rise in the future.
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Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Community Development, Cllr Chris Penberthy said: "Not only will an energy co-operative give our residents more choice when it comes to energy providers it will also give them more control over the money they are spending to heat their homes, cook their meals and have hot water.
"Being able to give back to the community, especially those living in fuel poverty, is something we are passionate about. "The Labour administration is fighting the Government on their spending cuts for the good of our people and we will not let them defeat us." The co-operative will be open to all residents, allowing them to come together and have a say in the overall running of the scheme.
Plans are being drawn up this month and if approved by Cabinet on Tuesday, the co-operative is likely to be launched in July 2013.
Cllr Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for Environment added: "We often talk about reducing carbon footprints and cutting our emissions but by embracing this scheme we are actively bringing this to our own doorstep.
"Using renewable energy is the future, but why buy it when we can create it.
"Not only will it help the environment, it will also help our city provide cheaper fuel, create jobs and investment opportunities and it will also help put Plymouth on the renewable energy map."