Energy UK has joined with consumer groups to raise awareness over winter of the support available for customers struggling to pay their energy bills.
The campaign has so far seen Energy UK team up with National Energy Action (NEA), Citizens Advice, Scope and Age UK – with other consumer groups likely to join. It has already held a series of webinars with some of these groups, with over 300 consumer facing agents and local council representatives receiving practical advice on how to support customers this winter.
A variety of topics have been covered from guidance on what do if a customer’s supplier goes bust, to new support suppliers have been providing in 2021, to well-established support programmes such as Warm Home Discount, Energy Company Obligation, and the Priority Services Register.
Today is NEA’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and Energy UK has partnered with the NEA to produce a home energy checklist that provides advice on the help available to manage your energy bills and keep your home warm and safe this winter.
Part of the campaign has also involved regular communication with parliamentarians through regular briefings and roundtables with MPs. Energy UK is calling for a debate in Parliament on the future of the energy retail market and support for customers this winter as the Government must do more to support customers as energy bills continue to increase.
Earlier this year, energy suppliers signed up to refreshed commitments to support domestic customers worried about paying bills over the winter months. Energy companies have already provided hundreds of millions of pounds of financial support to customers since the start of the pandemic
In addition to these, suppliers signed up to Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment have worked to help their most vulnerable customers get the support and advice they need, signing up to a series of voluntary commitments that go above and beyond existing licence obligations.
Household customers energy bills are predicted to rise significantly in April 2022 when the next price cap comes into force which NEA estimates could push a further one million households into fuel poverty by the end of 2022.
Energy UK’s Director of Policy, Audrey Gallacher said:
“The energy industry is supporting customers this winter, but with these level of bill increases we cannot do it alone, we need the Government to take action to protect customers from the rising cost of energy which could push millions more into fuel poverty by the end of next year.
“Regardless of their situation, we want to assure any household facing financial difficulties that help and advice will be made available to them in times of need.”
Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the National Energy Action (NEA), Matt Copeland stated:
“Across the UK, more than four million households live in fuel poverty and do not have a warm and safe place to call home. Unfortunately, the pressures of increased living costs and reduced incomes will bite this winter, and many people will struggle to pay their energy bill.
“NEA is campaigning for additional financial support from the Government in the short term, and extra funding for energy efficiency measures – the best tool to combat fuel poverty in the longer term.”