Mar 10th, 2016
So what’s the Big Switch about?
By Megan Bentall
Thousands of 38 Degrees members are pooling their power as consumers and switching their energy away from the Big Six energy suppliers, to cheaper and better suppliers.
Here’s how it works:
- Thousands of 38 Degrees members said we wanted a better deal on our gas and electricity
- Our partner for the campaign, The Big Deal – a company that campaigns against rip-off energy bills – fiercely negotiated for a fair energy deal on 38 Degrees members’ behalf
- Lots of different companies could bid – they’d offer the best deal they could give 38 Degrees members on their gas and electricity
- We chose the companies who offered the best deal. This time round that was Places for People – a new company in the energy market (more details on them below). And LoCO2 – who are offering a 100% renewable deal, so members have a choice
- 38 Degrees members can compare these deals with their existing tariff and all the other deals available on the market, then decide whether to switch
38 Degrees members worked with the Big Deal to negotiate this switch, to make sure 38 Degrees remains completely independent. There are always risks involved in being part of a switch as a people-powered organisation, as it involves making deals (albeit people-powered deals) with a company. Working with The Big Deal means 38 Degrees doesn’t risk our independence by entering into a direct financial relationship with an energy company.
You may have seen the recent E.ON and AgeUK scandal. That kind of thing is exactly what should be avoided. And exactly the reason why partnering with the Big Deal is the right way to go. 38 Degrees contracts the Big Deal to do the bargaining with energy companies, so that we can stay focused on being people-powered.
So who are the winning energy company?
38 Degrees members are switching to Places for People. They’re a new energy supplier who have been around for a year. But they’ve been doing incredible stuff outside the energy world for much longer. They run brilliant community projects – like making sure people have green spaces and parks to go to, and opening community leisure centres. And they help people into decent housing (at the moment they’re managing 140,000 homes). To top it all, they don’t have any shareholders – they invest their money into social causes instead.
They don’t have a long track record in energy – they only decided to branch out to supplying people with gas and electricity in the last year. Their customer service reviews look good – but to make sure we’re completely happy, 38 Degrees members will also track our experience of Places for People over time. And we can iron out any issues if they come up.
Being part of 38 Degrees lets us use people power to move away from the big companies and negotiate deals with better – and cheaper – companies like Places for People. Thousands of us are switching right now – we’re joining millions of people across the UK all taking back their power. So when we get that next energy bill we’ll feel good about it!