Q and A: Collective switching

Q How does collective switching work?

A The schemes bring lots of people together who want to switch energy suppliers, and then run an auction where firms can submit offer prices. A large group of people is an attractive target, so they can secure a better deal.

Q Great, why hasn’t this been done before?

A It has, although it’s still pretty new in Britain. The government has given money to 31 collective switching projects, which it claims have saved 21,000 consumers an average of £131 each.

Q What happens after Tuesday’s auction?

A The winning supplier will be revealed on Wednesday and consumers will get a personal offer from 29 November. They can decide to accept this before 13 January 2014.

Q Where do I find these schemes?

A You can sign up for the Big Community Switch and the Big London Energy Switch online.

Q Any catches?

A If you’re switch from a fixed-term contract you may have to pay a termination fee.