Energy Secretary Ed Davey today announced an initiative to train 500 volunteers to help vulnerable consumers to switch energy plans and obtain a better deal ahead of winter.
The volunteers, trained through the Big Energy Saving Network, will focus on helping the most disengaged consumers save on their bills.
It is hoped that the initiative will raise awareness of switching and help those most in need sign up for the most appropriate energy plan for them.
Creating ‘a legacy of savvy switchers’
Speaking on the initiative, Ed Davey said: “Many people across the country will already be thinking about getting ready for the winter ahead.
“We’re doing our bit by working with our partners in the Big Energy Saving Network to help people get their bills down and keep their homes warm – before the clocks go back.
“An army of around 500 volunteers will be trained to provide advice and practical help to the most vulnerable about how to keep warm and access the help that is available. This will help create a legacy of savvy switchers, giving households all the information they need to engage with energy suppliers and seek out the best deals.
“This comes on top of radical reforms to bring people simpler and clearer energy bills, to cut the number of tariffs on offer and to make suppliers take customers off poor-value dead tariffs on to the best deal for them.”
‘Welcome news’ for those looking to avoid price rises
Commenting on the new initiatives, Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “With winter around the corner and the fear of high energy bills starting to set in, this new initiative from DECC is welcome news. Unfortunately many people – often the elderly and vulnerable – don’t know about the savings on offer, which can be up to £294, or lack the confidence to shop around and switch.
“The 500 volunteers should ensure that the most vulnerable people engage in this market. Too many people are turning off the heating through fear of high bills, when switching to a better plan could help them cut costs and keep them warm this winter.
“We hope that the scheme is just the start of a national consumer education programme that engages more people. It’s vital that more consumers are able to get on the cheapest energy plan for them before they have to turn their heating on this winter and we are keen to help ensure that everything is done to make all consumers aware of the savings that can be made.
“On top of this advice scheme, energy efficiency labelling on electrical products should help consumers to make savings by choosing electrical products which use less energy and are therefore cheaper to run in the long term. This will lead to savvier consumers, with more pounds in their pockets.”