One Big Switch to push for better deal with power bills

PEOPLE-POWER movement One Big Switch will use the strength of collective bargaining to negotiate a better deal for Hunter residents struggling with increasing power and gas bills.

The Lower Hunter Big Electricity Switch, to be launched in Newcastle today, is looking for 1000 local households to join the campaign in the next two weeks.

One Big Switch, founded in July 2011, has organised the Big Bank Switch campaign and other state-based electricity switch campaigns.

It is the first time the group has focused on a regional area.

‘‘The power companies have previously said to us if you could do something on a regional level it would be of real interest to us,’’ One Big Switch founder and former media adviser to Kevin Rudd, Lachlan Harris, said.

‘‘Our feeling is because of the cost of living issues in the Hunter it’s the best place to start.’’

The Newcastle Herald reported last month that energy prices were tipped to increase by 20per cent in the next financial year due to the carbon tax and further likely increases in the cost of electricity.

Registration for the Lower Hunter Big Electricity Switch is free and has no obligation.

One Big Switch representatives negotiate to achieve the cheapest power price possible for campaign members.

‘‘In the past we have certainly dealt with different power companies that have been willing to give aggregated groups of customers a discount,’’ Mr Harris said.

‘‘We are confident that we can get a discount with 1000 but the bigger the group the potential is there for more savings.’’

Laura Ford, of Merewether, said she was keen to join the campaign.

‘‘I’m not using more gas or electricity but the bills have certainly been going up,’’ she said.

‘‘If there is someone who can help me reduce this expense in my life then I’m on board 100per cent.’’

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