Council sets out to prove there’s power in co-operatives

A co-operative has been created which is designed to help people benefit from cheaper energy bills. Plymouth Energy Community was launched as a fully-registered body towards the end of International Co-operatives Fortnight.

It was set up after Plymouth City Council announced its commitment to negotiating better energy prices for families and businesses, supporting energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy initiatives.

Already, about 100 people have signed up as members and Plymouth City Council expects this number to “significantly increase” within the next few weeks.

The idea is that collectively they will have the power to negotiate better deals on their energy use.

Cllr Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for co-operatives and community development, said:

“Announcing the creating of Plymouth Energy Community is a huge step forward. Residents and communities will soon be reaping the benefits.

This isn’t just about cheaper energy bills, although that helps. It’s also about tackling fuel poverty in the city, helping to change the environment by creating renewable energy and being as efficient with our energy use as we can be.

It’s also a way in which we can together help reduce our carbon footprint and, through co-operation, make a better future for Plymouth. This is just the start of exciting things to come, keep watching this space.

Malcolm Clancy, a Plymouth Community Homes resident, said:

“Plymouth Energy Community is founded on the strong principles of a world-wide co-operative movement.

So far, about 100 people have signed up to become a member and we’d like to encourage others, throughout the city, to join us to find out more about what we can achieve collectively and the difference we can make to energy consumption and fuel bills for out community.”

Plymouth Energy Community is one of two key planks of the council’s plan top tackle child poverty in the city, announced last month.

Slashing domestic fuel bills sits alongside raising wages in the three-year, city-wide, strategy.

The new child poverty action plan was drawn up by a cross-party working group, in an ambitious bid to lift some of an estimated 11,000 Plymouth children out of poverty.

The energy co-operative is due to be followed by the imposition of a “living wage” of £7.45p an hour, compared with the national minimum wage of £6.19, for council staff. The authority will encourage city employers to follow its lead.

The official launch of the energy saving scheme is on July 17. But people can join as a member from now, by visiting www.plymouthenergycommunity.com or calling 01752 477067.


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