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BASILDON Council may join forces with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, to secure lower energy rates for residents.
The authority revealed the plan in a report, which said residents who sign up could save up to £152 per year on their energy bills.
The report said some poor and/or elderly residents were becoming ill and even dying during the winter months because they could not afford to heat their homes under their current arrangements.
Figures showed more than eight per cent of Basildon residents were classed as living in fuel poverty – meaning their fuel costs were above the national average but their disposable income was below the poverty line.
The figure amounts to almost 6,500 households.
The council’s Policy and Resources Committee will discuss tonight whether to enter into an ‘inter-authority agreement’ with Barking and Dagenham.
The authorities would work together to create a ‘white label energy company’.
This means the councils would each represent a large number of residents and enter into a deal with an energy firm on their behalf, securing a low tariff by bringing the firm business in bulk.
Barking and Dagenham already ‘successfully operates’ a white label company called Beam Energy, in partnership with Robin Hood Energy, said the report.
The latest figures, from 2017, show 8.4 per cent of Basildon residents – or 6,447 households – are living in fuel poverty.
The council report states that the effects are ‘particularly severe for the most vulnerable persons, including the unemployed and ageing’.
It states: “This has a direct impact upon occupier health, with a higher risk of mortality and increased illness rates, most notably during the colder winter months.”
The committee will debate the proposal in a public meeting at the Bas Centre tonight at 7pm.