A report before Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet will hear how the authority and utilities company British Gas will work together to bring economic and environmental benefits to Northamptonshire.
How will this work?
Ideas which are being investigated include helping householders improve insulation so their energy bills are reduced and a potential scheme where consumers could get-together to bulk-buy energy at a lower price.
Other initiatives could include working with businesses to help them cut energy costs and developing low-carbon transport, not just for cars but also for buses and lorries.
Both the council and British Gas realise that they share similar goals on issues such as fuel poverty, energy efficiency and the environment and can help each other tackle these by sharing expertise, ideas and resources to help reduce carbon emissions in Northamptonshire.
Creating this strategic alliance for business opportunities is one of the components of the county council’s 10-point plan, which was recently presented to government, and outlines how the authority will work towards increased economic growth.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth and public protection, said: “This is a pioneering approach which we see as having benefits all round.
“Energy costs are rising and this isn’t good for householders who increasingly find energy bills taking up a larger and larger chunk of their income, pushing some into fuel poverty.
“Rising energy costs are also bad news for businesses, particularly coming out of a recession, and being able to help them reduce energy expenses can give them a helping hand to expand.”
Such an agreement also has benefits to a wide range of county council services and will permeate through much of the authority’s work.
Examples include the Beanstalk volunteer reading scheme, which British Gas is actively involved with and would be administered through the council’s libraries and benefits for schools with work around improving energy efficiency on their premises.