The people will have their power! And save a few quid hopefully

15 February 2012

Screen Shot 2012-02-15 at 12.34.49 Last week, we told you about The Big Switch! – the new collective bargaining plan that has been hatched by Which! and political campaigners 38 Degrees. But, as with most things in life, there is an alternative.

‘thePeoplesPower’ is a smiliar kind of wheeze and it works thus – people sign up and when there’s 5,000 of them, thePeoplesPower will speak to the energy suppliers (large and small) and try to solicit the best deal they can get. The deal will then be offered to the punters who have signed up, and if they like it, they can switch as part of the collective. If they don’t like the offered deal, there’s no obligation to switch. Simples, as that rat said on the telly.

With The Big Switch gathering in traction, is it an either/or situation? Nope – you’re free to sign up for both ‘campaigns’ (or indeed any others that might appear on the market). Or you could do nothing. It's a free country, apparently.


  • Dick
    Anyone that signs up to this will have already switched to a cheap tariff anyway. I doubt they will know much off the price. Plus 5000 people is not that many, especially when they don't guarantee the company that many new clients.
  • mike
    Hi there thePeoplesPower here - you make a good point about numbers. we will START to talk with the energy companies when we reach 5000. If there is no interest, we will gather more sign ups and go back as a bigger group. We are on course to reach over 10,000 by the end of March ... if more people like you link to us then we will exceed that. You won't know how much we will get off the price unless you sign up ... and of course the amount you save depends on what sort of tariff you are on now. We won't want anyone to switch if it makes them worse off - so will help people decide if a deal is right for them. hope this helps!
  • Dick
    >You won’t know how much we will get off the price unless you sign up That's the problem for me. You won't tell people what the prices will be unless they give you their details. So people will register with fake details or using junkmail accounts, rendering it useless. The numbers you think you have will be much smaller, and no doubt power companies will know that.
  • Phil
    I think its a great idea and I hope it works!
  • Marilyn M.
    Dig a little deeper and you'll see this is a scam...
  • mike
    thanks Phil! Dick does have a point - we expect somewhere between 50 - 75% of people who sign up will accept the offer (assuming its a good offer!). The data we have from Holland where this was tried was that about 67% of people accepted the offer. The energy companies will know this. we have a double opt-in on our sign up as we don't want to artificially boost our numbers with junkmail accounts - or have people sign up other people without their permission. best mike
  • Dick
    Given that there are already two companies doing this, there will soon be more, when people realise that you can make money from it. Anyone signing up is not completely stupid. These type of things will get posted on HUKD and MSE and well advertised through forums (a good thing). But people will sign up to all of them, since it costs nothing to do so. Conversion will then be down to much lower figures. So if you expect 50-75% when there is a single company doing i, that is going to be lower when there are more companies. As soon as you get three or four, that's going to be down to 10-25% conversion rates, taking into account the lazy ones that never get round to switching even though they signed up. Then take into account the people that use multiple emails to help boost the numbers signing up, and conversion rates will drop further. This does happen - which is why many online surveys are a farce. Double opt-in or not. Unless you post a letter to each household that signs up to check they are genuine, and check for multiple sign-ups per address, numbers will always be inflated.
  • joe
    Checking for multiple sign ups per address is easily done, so that part isnt really an issue. As far as the switching rates being lower, that might happen as more sites crop up, but more people will also sign up for these in the first place once it becomes clear that savings are made. The sites which arent for profit will pass on a bigger saving as they wont take huge commission, so the conversion rates will be better for them. It doesnt need huge numbers each time, in fact if the numbers are too big, say over 20,000 it would backfire as the smaller energy companies wouldnt be able to compete, and it would be the same old problem of the big 6 running the show. So they have capped it to make sure it's more competitive. Marilyn, this isnt a scam. I am volunteering on this, it's a not for profit Community Interest Company, publicly registered. Please take a look at the site if you want to check. As a CIC it cant make any profit, and it has to be transparent - hence the site gives all the details. thePeoplesPower wont take a massive commission like the standard switching sites do. Its usually about £40, and they try and hide it, but thePeoplesPower will take a £2 handling fee from the energy company per switch. This means they can keep the site running but still pass on way more saving to the subscribers.

What do you think?

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