The ‘concept store’, called Open House which could potentially be the first of many, looks like the inside of a home where customers can receive tips and advice on how to cut their energy bills. It will be the first energy supplier to appear on the high street since 1999.
Customers will be able to receive energy-saving tips, pay their bills, register complaints and even give meter readings. E.ON has said selling products will not be the focus of the stores and no sales targets will be set.
Dr Tony Cocker, who took over as chief executive last year, told The Sun newspaper: “This is a major change for the industry.
“We want a chance to rebuild trust with customers and the store is one way we hope to achieve this. This is not about hard sales or making money.
“Our customers have told us face-to-face contact is their favourite way of getting in touch.”
Jeremy Davies, marketing director at E.ON, said: “Being back on the high-street is a real sea-change for the energy industry.
“Our Open House allows customers to speak to us face to face at a time and place that’s convenient to them.”
In July this year, E.ON ended its doorstep selling following controversy about mis-selling. Doorstep selling had become a focus for Ofgem in recent years, although its eventual removal left many concerned about how suppliers would be able to reach vulnerable customers who may be paying too much for their energy bills.
British Gas was the last energy supplier to have a physical presence on the high street with its Energy Centres, although nothing similar has existed for around 13 years.
The E.ON ‘Open House’ will open in Nottingham in October with further branches to launch nationwide if the flagship store passes a 6 month trial.
Top energy-saving tips
There are lots of ways to cut your energy bills, and most of them are simple and easy steps you can take in your daily life. For more information on how to cut your energy costs, see our energy-saving guides.
– Find out if you’re on the cheapest energy deal. Many of us are overpaying unnecessarily for our energy because we haven’t checked whether or not we are on the cheapest energy deal. Find out if you’re on the cheapest energy deal.
– Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C and save as much as £70 per year.
– Did you know that 90% of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating the water, so try washing your clothes at 30 -40 °C to save money.
– Insulating your home can save you around 15% on your energy bills, plus there are now government backed grants to help with the costs. Find out more with our insulation guides.