Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Haringey Council is promoting the The Big Community Switch service which aims to help households get a better deal for gas and electricity.

The Big Community Switch scheme is co-ordinated by ichoosr and aims to to make it easy for residents across the country to get cheaper energy by centralising and co-ordinating a collective switching scheme to secure the lowest cost energy tariffs.

The company has been running in Belgium and the Netherlands for some years. I'm assuming they make their money by taking a cut from the energy suppliers.

A council spokesman claimed that savings of £20-200 per year per household are quite realistic.

It works like this: residents sign up with no commitment on iChoosr's  Big Community Switch website by 8th April and on 9th April a reverse auction will allow energy providers to bid using lower and lower tariffs until the cheapest tariff wins. The kind of information you have to fill in will be very familliar to you if you've ever used any of the energy switch websites.

A note of caution: You're asked to give the name of your council and can't proceed until you do. As of this afternoon, the site doesn't recognise Haringey Council. Just type in 'Other" and you can proceed.

You will receive an email after 17 April with an offer, based on your usage and the best deal from the auction. You'll then need to say whether you want to accept the offer by 6 May.

The Council have funded Living Under One Sun to provide one-to-one support and information about collective switching and energy efficiency for residents who need a little extra support to take part.

SIgn up at iChoosr.com.


Tags for Forum Posts: energy, energy prices

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Thanks Kamila - I don't think they take much out of it, but they all do have businesses to run, so we're paying for their expertise building the website, direct mailing potential customers, their advertising budget and sales people, meeting times with council officials, the cost of protecting the name and address datacenters, salaries to the Chief Exec, the cost of their offices  etc et.

They could all claim that the 'profit' they make is minimal but we'll never know - it's all held in secret in the interests of 'commercial confidentiality'  - a fact of life.

The CoOp maybe made the decision to fund their entry into this market by undercutting the rest?  I don't know (doubt it) as CoOps are wonderful orgs in my opinion. Maybe they won because, as they're owned by all their members, they don't suffer from 'investors' driving them to quick returns at any cost, and don't pay the sort of salaries Barclays do.

Which and particularly 38 degrees still do overwhelmingly more good than they cost to run though, don't they?  

Dear Chris,

I think you must have got the wrong end of the stick regarding Hornsey Town Hall and the other buildings on the site developed at the same time.

The gas and electricity boards had offices and showrooms opposite one another flanking the Town Hall but they were not part of the Council. The proximity of these buildings to the old Town Hall does not mean that Hornsey Council acted as a utilities "supplier".

I don't remember the Water Board having premises there. 

Thanks Alexander - I wish I knew of more sources of evidence. The Council paperwork would do it, but i guess that's all been destroyed. I wonder if there are any old bills anywhere around?

I assumed that, as the plaza was designed from scratch to incorporate Gas, Electricity and Telephone and, as Telephone was a goverment-owned and supplied service, and as it appeared that some Councils owned and operated their own Gas and Electicity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Electricity_Board) that Hornsey would too. Otherwise, why else would they build utility offices effectively inside the Town Hall?

I found this reference:

Hornsey Gas Company Limited (1857-1949): formed in 1857, became statutory in 1866, controlled by the South East Gas Corporation from 1939 and merged with the North Thames Gas Board in 1949.

I don't know if 'statutory' meant, but it can't mean 'subject to regulation' can it? It seems that the North Thames Gas Board was state-owned from 1949 and had absorbed some municapally owned ones.

As to water, I found this:

...'Out of the 198 water undertakings 64 were run by individual local government authorities, 101 by joint boards comprising several local government authorities, and 33 were statutory privately owned water companies, some of which date back to the Victorian era.' from here.

I'll correct it in future - really appreciate the heads-up. Don't want to accidentally mislead.

Thanks Alexander.


This prompted me to do some research on the history of public utilities in Hornsey and I came across this


It says that in 1900 Hornsey UD decided to supply electricity itself under the Hornsey Electrical Supply Board. 

I don't know whether Hornsey Gas Compay, which incorporated in 1857, was ever part of the council though.

I also came across Helen Long's fascinating book on The Edwardian House, published in 1993 which has some reference to the various gas and electrical suppliers.

I also know that the architect for the Town Hall (Uran) was also consultant for the the gas and electricity showrooms flanking either side of the square, and that the friezes was designed by Ayre.

All fascinating stuff!

Hi Chris,

I've read kamila's useful reply and stand corrected about Hornsey Borough having supplied electricity locally. This is quite humbling for someone who has lived locally for nearly half a century and whose family has lived in the area for over a hundred years! However, it seems that by the time the showroom was built (a little after the town hall in 1936 from what I gather on the web) they would have been operating under the auspices of the Central Electricity Board.

I don't believe they were, in any way, responsible for gas though as The Hornsey Gas Company's business address was at the gas works in Clarendon Rd. N8.

I also found that water was first supplied by the "New River Water Co." and then by "The Metropolitan Water Board" before Thames Water.

I'm sure the "Telephone" which you saw was simply there to indicate the public telephone booths once installed beneath it which are now long gone. 

It will be interesting to see if this provider beats the Coop.  Just realised I cannot switch as I'm tied in till July.  But anyway, as Chris says, the Coop is a good organisation and so is Which.

The Big Community Switch is an opportunity for people to find out if by switching their energy costs could be cheaper. For any questions about individual tariffs and penalties please contact the helpline 0800 953 1221.

 The Big Switch is also running Drop Ins at local libraries and workshops about energy use and sustainability. www.haringey.gov.uk/switch.

There is no obligation to switch and people are given information on reading their bills and how to find out about their current tariff. This is of great concern because of the number of tariffs around. The Big Switch is prompting people to talk about energy saving.

I did this and just got the result.  Sainsbury's won.  Their estimates were a whacking £250 MORE than my current provider, Cooperative Energy.  

Simillar for me.

Oh well - I guess it wasn't for us savvy switchers anyway!  But I thought they would do better than that.  Did you also get a crafty discount of over £200 to get you to switch?  I didn't like that tactic.  Switch to the Cooperative everyone - it really is the cheapest provider around.  I think Which did a good job with their collective switching scheme.

And we had a most interesting discussion about the Hornsey energy suppliers on this thread!

Yes, there was some sort of incentive, but I can't remember the amount. I just thought it a rather poor letter. Had I had the choice, in their position, I'd have drafted a different letter to people like us who weren't going to save anything. As it was, it came cross as a rather shabby offer.

Yes, plus the emailed equivalent looked really unprofessional - I had to double-check the address, as even though I knew I had applied for this it looked like spam.



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