Over 20,000 sign up to campaign promising energy savings

Group plans to approach energy providers to negotiate discount offers

OneBigSwitch.ie has attracted more than 20,000 members in less than two weeks. Photograph:  Getty Images/Stockbyte Platinum

OneBigSwitch.ie has attracted more than 20,000 members in less than two weeks. Photograph: Getty Images/Stockbyte Platinum

Sun, Mar 2, 2014, 16:55

More than 20,000 people have now signed up to a campaign which aims to use collective bargaining to drive down the price of gas and electricity for Irish consumer.

The Big Energy Switch originally set a target of four weeks to reach 20,000 members but that mark was passed over the weekend. The total annual energy purchasing power of its group, which now numbers 21,500, is in excess of €44 million.

Starting later this month, the campaign will approach the five energy providers in the market with a view to negotiating a group discounted offer.

While a spokesman was unable to say what level of savings could result from a large group bargaining, international experience suggests that up to 10 per cent could be knocked of the groups’ annual bills. This would amount to savings of between €100 and €200 each year.

There are still 16 days left for consumers to join the campaign and its early success has been described as a “clear sign just how frustrated Irish consumers are with the spiralling costs of electricity and gas,” by the One Big Switch Founder Oliver Tattan.

“We now have huge bargaining power. The more people who join the campaign the better our chance of success, putting more power behind the campaign,” he said.

There is no ceiling on the number consumers and people are being invited to register their commitment-free interest at OneBigSwitch.ie.

Meanwhile the campaign has been polling those who have signed up and has found that people living in Wexford, Donegal, Kerry, Clare and Offaly are most likely to suffer electricity blackouts while those in Dublin are least likely to be affected.

It found that almost 70 per cent of more than 10,000 people polled had had at least one blackout every year over the past five years with one in five saying they had had at least three blackouts each year.

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