Recently, Southend Council has set up its own energy company with the noble aim of trying to reduce fuel poverty in the town. I would always encourage residents to compare energy prices to see if they can get a better deal elsewhere.
Yesterday evening, Mrs Cox received a personalised letter from Leader of the Council Ron Woodley encouraging Mrs C to switch to OVO Energy. Curiously, my name was left off the letter. Is this a deliberate ploy to target female members of households?
My colleague, Cllr James Courtenay, raised a question on the cost of marketing of this letter at Full Council last Thursday. The answer was revealing. In effect, the Leader of the Council has had a £7,000 marketing campaign paid for at Council Taxpayer expense. Does the Leader of the Council really have such a big enough ego to think that his name alone will encourage people to flock en mass to OVO Energy.
Never in my time as part of the previous administration did, I, my colleagues, or the Leader of the Council ever have such a luxury of a personalised £7,000 self promotion budget. The responsible thing to do would have the letter sent in either the Corporate Director or Chief Executive's name.
To be clear, I do not have a personal problem with Southend Council creating its own Energy Company. If residents can get the best possible deal with OVO Energy then great. There were some aspects of the report when the energy company was set up - especially with the Solar Panels option which in effect mean that Southend Council are nationalising your roof.
After receiving the letter, I did look at what OVO Energy could save me on my current energy bills. Unfortunately, there was no such luck. Moving to OVO Energy would have actually cost me an extra £216 a year.