HUNDREDS of York residents have saved money by signing up to a free service to help them get lower their gas and electricity bills.

City of York Council partnered up with energy switching experts iChoosr earlier this year to make it easier for residents to consider switching their energy tariffs.

The Save Money by Switching Energy campaigns, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York’s Citizens Advice Bureaux and Age UK York, was launched in December. People could register through four easy steps.

A council spokeswoman said 751 residents signed up to the scheme locally, with more than 36,000 people registering across the UK as part of a wider national Big Community switch.

iChoosr hosted an ‘auction day’ on 18 February, where energy companies put forward their lowest tariffs to win the auction, and the winners were Ovo Energy, British Gas, Green Star Energy and Scottish Power. People were then sent personalised offers to consider switching onto.

"In York, 242 residents switched which resulted in an average saving per person of £169 over the year," said the spokeswoman.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, Cabinet Member for Health, said such schemes could play a vital role in reducing fuel poverty for residents on low household incomes or struggling with unaffordable energy costs.

"Our intention was to ensure that as many vulnerable people as possible benefitted from this energy scheme and we hope to run similar schemes like this again in the future.”

George Vickers, Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Bureaux in York, said a lot of people were coming to the CAB for advice because they’ were struggling to pay all their bills. "This scheme was a great opportunity for all York residents to sign up to and benefit from finding a cheaper energy tariff which in turn will now help them to cut the cost of their monthly outgoings and save money.”

James Player, Deputy Chief Officer of Age UK York, said: “We really hope that many more people will have lower fuel bills thanks to this scheme and thus be able to keep warmer and healthier during the winter months.”