Theresa May should take taxpayer funding for energy saving away from the Big Six and instead give it to local energy co-op groups.
That’s according to think-tank IPPR, which suggests the best way to save energy and make bills cheaper is by bypassing the Big Six altogether.
At present, large energy firms use government funds to encourage people to make their houses more energy efficient and tackle fuel poverty.
IPPR says this money is wasted as the companies have little local knowledge to sign people up and support efficiency schemes.
Instead, the think tank suggests local energy operators could use it to work with local councils, companies and co-operatives to deliver money-saving measures like double-glazing and wall insulation, using local links to sign people up neighbourhood by neighbourhood.
These measures would be free up front for consumers, paid for by future savings on bills and are estimated to cut emissions by around 60%.
Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said: “Putting energy companies in charge of cutting bills is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
“They have a vested interest in keeping bills high, unlike energy operators who actually supply homes with power and maintain our creaking infrastructure.”