Collective switching and purchasing

How consumers can reduce their energy costs by getting a group deal

Collective purchasing and switching is when consumers get together to negotiate a group deal with their gas and electricity suppliers. There is no set model for how individual schemes operate, though a third party usually facilitates them.

Collective switching is where the third party actively negotiates a better tariff on behalf of the group.

Collective purchasing is where the third party or group buys a commodity (eg energy efficiency solutions) from a gas or electricity supplier, with a view to then supplying that commodity to a number of consumers.

Cheaper Energy Together fund

DECC launched the £5 million Cheaper Energy Together fund on 19 October 2012.

The fund supported the development of collective purchasing and switching schemes by local authorities or third sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.

To be eligible for funding, the schemes were required to encourage participation by vulnerable consumers, which are, according to Consumer Focus, ‘people who cannot choose or access essential products and services which are suitable for their needs or cannot do so without disproportionate effort/cost/time’.

The fund closed to applications on 30 November 2012 and details of the allocation winners were released in January 2013. More details are available from the press release

Further information

Collective switching and purchasing: guidance for consumers

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Collective Switching: guidance for scheme organisers

Ofgem guidance on collective purchasing and switching

Published 22 January 2013