Norwich City Council is tendering a contract for a collective purchasing and switching partner to help it engage with “the maximum amount of homes within the city’s boundary”.

The council hopes the scheme, due to launch in mid-October, will benefit as many as 20,000 households on low incomes or in fuel poverty.

Meanwhile in Cornwall, Matt Hastings, project director of the Cornwall Together collective switching project, said the key ­element for other local authority-led schemes to understand was face-to-face engagement. He said the Cornwall project was now “deploying teams into partner organisations”, such as the NHS.

As the number of councils trialling collective switching increases, Hastings warned that a central ­co-ordinating body may be required.

“I can see collective switching defeating itself if 238 district councils try to do their own schemes individually,” he said. “There is a massive opportunity to get it right in a co-ordinated approach across the country.”

Hastings said the Cornwall Together project could take that role and become UK Together if it ­succeeds. The group aims to switch at least 5,000 people within the next month. So far, 2,500 ­people have signed up.

This article first appeared in Utility Week’s print edition of 7th September 2012.

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