Residents in Warwickshire could soon have an alternative energy supplier for their gas and electric bills.
On Tuesday Warwickshire County Council’s cabinet decided to adopt the Warwickshire energy plan.
The energy plan was first proposed in December 2014 by Labour councillor Matt Western.
Described as a ‘New Energy Deal’, the council is planning to offer residents alternative energy supply contracts at rates below those of the big six energy firms.
Cllr Matt Western said: “Having first proposed the Warwickshire Energy Plan over two years ago, I’m delighted this decision has finally been taken.
“Everyone in our community should benefit greatly from this plan as it will lead to markedly lower electricity and gas prices across the local market.
“For many years the big six energy companies have been taking advantage of customers through opaque tariff choices while stifling competition in the market – keeping prices high and not fully passing on wholesale savings when the price of gas and electricity has gone down.
“Soon, residents in Warwickshire will have another choice: one that should save all households a significant amount of money each year.”
Similar companies have been set up in other places in the UK, such as in Nottinghamshire, Plymouth and Leeds.
Cllr Western added: “The ambitious plan aims also to eliminate fuel poverty that affects almost 30,000 households in Warwickshire and this will go a long way in helping to deliver that.
“It now needs the support of district and borough councils to make it viable and it is hoped that this will be achieved in the coming months.
“I am confident we can move extremely quickly and we just need to get the initial support and we will work with social housing providers as well. We are cautious about the number who will switch to us initially but we have great ambitions.”
Another proposal was also put forward at the cabinet meeting for solar farms across the county.
The cabinet also approved the investment in renewable energy generation from ground-mounted solar farms on council-owned land.
In the proposals six sites have been earmarked for solar farms, with a ‘significant’ one set to go on former landfill sites within the Ryton Pools Country Park and others planned for another former landfill site at Stockton and at Glebe Farm in Barford.
Cllr Western said: “The plans for solar panels will now go through the planning process and to the borough and district councils. We are using what we think are appropriate sites for this development.
“We have great ambitions to make Warwickshire resilient for its own energy so not to depend on the Middle East or Europe but to have it in Warwickshire.
“Technology changes means that in years to come we should be able to generate and store electricity for our own usage.”