BURY Council officers will be out in force next Wednesday helping residents sign up for an energy switch scheme which aims to slash fuel bills by as much as £150 a year.

The new joint initiative from the 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester has seen them establish a dedicated Collective Energy Switching programme on an initial one-year basis to get people to join together in a collective bulk-buying group.

In Bury’s Mill Gate shopping centre next week, officers will be taking iPads and signing people up on the spot. They will need to have an energy bill, preferably an annual statement, which shows how much they have used over the year.

Residents unable to attend the event can either sign up over the phone on freephone 0800 009 3363 or log on to gmfairenergy.com.

Surging energy costs have led to calls from charities, consumer groups and local authorities to urge residents to take control of their fuel bills.

The scheme organisers say anyone can sign up to save, but there is no obligation to go ahead. Subsequently, everybody will be informed of how much they could save, but if it turns out they are already on a lower tariff, they would simply be told not to swap.

At the end of January, the group of councils will go to auction with details of those wanting a cheaper deal on electricity and gas from energy companies.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority programme will build upon work undertaken by Oldham and Rochdale Councils’ Power to the People scheme which signed up 8,000 residents for an auction in November.

The average saving from that auction was £171 with one lucky household seeing a reduction of more than £700 per year.

Bury Council leader Cllr Mike Connolly said; “This is a great step forward and will show the people of Bury that when we work together we can make a difference to their lives.

“This scheme will directly benefit every single person that signs up, giving them extra cash in their wallets.”