FAMILIES can save £133 a year on fuel bills by joining a mass energy company switch-over.

The Essex Energy Switch is being pioneered by Essex County Council to save residents cash.

The scheme, run with district and borough councils, unites large groups of residents who want to switch providers and pay less for their energy. Utility companies will then bid to offer the lowest tariff to customers.

Businesses on a domestic tariff can also register for the scheme.

Roger Walters, county councillor responsible for waste and recycling, said: “Spiralling energy bills are putting pressure on the purse strings of hard-working people across the county, but by signing up to our scheme we can help you get a better deal.

“Too many people worry about whether they can afford to heat their home at this time of year, but the more people who sign up to the Essex Energy Switch, the more we can save together.”

The council has teamed up with iChoosr, an independent provider which specialises in collective energy switching, to find the best deal.

iChoosr has organised a nationwide “energy auction” on Tuesday, February 18, which will see major energy companies compete to offer the lowest energy tariff to everyone who has signed up.

Once the auction has closed everyone who registered will receive a personal offer of the new tariff from iChoosr, based on their existing energy usage.

Residents can then decide whether or not to accept the offer.

There is no obligation to switch. Those who do will be contacted by the supplier to arrange the switch in supplier.

Residents must register by Monday, February 17, by visiting www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch It is helpful to have a recent energy bill to hand when registering.