Consumers urged to make One Big Switch

A new campaign is hoping to recruit thousands of consumers in a bid to negotiate group energy deals for residential and business customers.

One Big Switch launched in Ireland yesterday with the Big Energy Switch — a campaign to unlock group discounted electricity and gas.

The national group switching campaign will use a technique pioneered by One Big Switch successfully in other countries, most notably Australia. It is now one of the largest consumer organisations in the world.

Co-founded by Oliver Tattan, who co-founded health insurer GloHealth, the idea is to attract as many members to the campaign as possible and then negotiate a better energy deal on behalf of the members.

“The idea is to unlock the potential of group discounts. It’s something that hasn’t really happened here as far as we could see. It’s about people banding together and creating a movement that can negotiate better prices for the consumer,” he said.

Mr Tattan said the idea of seeking large-scale group discounts was needed in Ireland as both residential and business consumers have faced an affordability crisis here since the recession hit.

“Electricity prices are up 21% since 2011, gas is up 35%. At the same time earnings have gone down, so there is a huge divergence there and we are hoping a movement like this can get real savings.

“The more people that join up, the better the offer we can negotiate,” he said.

It is free to sign up to the campaign and there is no obligation on the consumer to accept the negotiated deal. The company makes its money on commission earned from the utility companies that gain new customers through the campaign.

“It’s free to join. It takes less time to sign up than it does to switch on the lights. Whatever deal we negotiate with the supplier, we offer on to members. The consumer has no obligation to take the offer,” said Mr Tattan.

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