Labour in electricity discount plan
Labour could bulk-buy electricity to sell at a discount in an effort to show the party can help people despite being out of power, Ed Miliband has said.
Mr Miliband praised the proposal as "outstanding" and embodying the concept of responsible capitalism.
The idea has come from American community activist Arnie Graf, who is advising Mr Miliband on how to revitalise the party.
The Labour leader told The Guardian: "It is an outstanding idea. It might involve working with, or emulating what (activist organisation) 38 degrees and Which? magazine are trying to do, which is to sign up people to bulk-buy energy from the energy companies.
"We are thinking of going to the energy companies as the Labour party so that 'responsible capitalism' is not just an idea, but something practical. We think we may be able to deliver it through our grassroots network."
Party sources reportedly said the plans were at an early stage. Collective purchasing should give the buyer greater leverage to secure a better deal.
The Belgian Labour party has teamed up with ichoosr to become the country's largest switching service, helping to cut energy bills for thousands of people. It recruits members and constituents to the scheme and then once a threshold is passed ichoosr handles negotiations with the energy firms.
Mr Miliband said: "The party needs to prove it has changed and will change more by operating in communities offering practical help, as well as political campaigns."
He said he was increasingly alarmed by the way in which established parties were perceived to have lost touch with local communities - citing Labour's shock defeat in the Bradford West by-election.
"Politics has to change and Labour is changing so we reach out to the voters who have been written off as unreachable or feel they have been ignored for too long," he added.