THURROCK Council is setting up a new energy scheme to help residents save money on bills in the New Year.

People can sign up for the scheme in January, and the following month a broker will negotiate a special tariff direct with the major energy companies.

The idea is that with a large number of customers buying at the same time, the broker will be able to get a better deal than what it is available on the market.

Thurrock has been working with the London borough of Barking and Dagenham to put the scheme together, and where it has been launched in other areas it has saved customers up to £200 a year on their energy bills.

Council leader John Kent said: “This is a perfect example of where working with another local council can bring benefits to both.

“We are always looking for ways in which we can help residents, especially in these difficult financial times and by combining with Barking and Dagenham we should each be able to reduce costs for local people.”

Cllr Val Morris-Cook, deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing, added: “This scheme has been a success in other parts of the country, so when we looked at it in detail we thought this was something our residents could really benefit from.

“Even if you’re not facing fuel poverty this would be a benefit to each and every one of Thurrock’s residents – energy bills can be a horrendous financial burden, especially in winter.”

Residents who sign up to the scheme will have a 30-day “cooling off” period.

If they decide not to carry on, they can then pull out with no penalties.

If they do sign up, they have the option of switching to another tariff if they wish.

Details on how people can sign up will be announced in January.