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Energy Best Deal 2017

Citizens Advice has been working on the Energy Best Deal public awareness campaign with support from the energy regulator Ofgem and major energy companies since 2008. By the spring of 2016, we estimate that Energy Best Deal has improved the confidence of over 550,000 domestic energy customers across England, Scotland and Wales to shop around, reduce their bills and get help if they are falling behind.

How Energy Best Deal is delivered

Energy Best Deal is delivered in England and Wales by members of the regional financial capability forums. Sessions are aimed at groups of consumers, who are in fuel poverty or are at risk of fuel poverty, and also at the frontline workers and volunteers who support these vulnerable consumers. Sessions are based around a one hour presentation, with an information booklet to hand out. The campaign aims to:

  • make people aware of the savings that can be made by switching fuel providers or negotiating with existing providers
  • provide information about help available from energy suppliers and government for people struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills
  • inform consumers about how they might save money by using less energy, and sources of advice and help around energy efficiency.

“Consumers who found a better deal and switched or intended to switch following their Energy Best Deal session, were asked how much they expected to save. The largest amount saved was £430 per year while the smallest was £40 per year. On average the expected saving was just over £150 per year.”

Centre for Sustainable Energy

Delivering sessions

Energy Best Deal is funded by voluntary contributions totalling £1,397,178 from 5  energy suppliers; EDF Energy, First Utility, ScottishPower, SSE and Utility Warehouse.  This funding will support the delivery of 1,400 Energy Best Deal group sessions in England and Wales between January 2017 and May 2017.


Energy Best Deal sessions are delivered by a range of organisations, including: local Citizens Advice, independent advice organisations, social housing providers and voluntary organisations.

Permission to use training materials

Local Citizens Advice and third party organisations, not in receipt of funding to deliver sessions, are welcome to make use of the training materials subject to the terms of use below:

You are permitted to use the training materials for educational purposes in any format or medium providing they are used for the purposes of delivering training sessions, or to inform energy consumers, and are used accurately and not in a misleading context. Citizens Advice reserves the right to terminate or suspend use at any time.

Training materials

The Energy Best Deal consumer booklet has been translated into British Sign Language (BSL) and is also available as an audio version, screen reader accessible version, in large print, and as an easy read document.

Energy Best Deal training materials for the 2017 campaign.

Background

Citizens Advice has been working on Energy Best Deal with support from the energy regulator Ofgem and major energy companies since 2008. Citizens Advice expects that by late spring 2017, Energy Best Deal will have improved the confidence of over 570,000 domestic energy customers across England, Wales and Scotland. Helping them to shop around, reduce their bills and get help if they are falling behind.

“Over half of clients passed on something that they had learnt at the Energy Best Deal session to friends and family."

Centre for Sustainable Energy, 2016

In 2015/16 1,999 sessions were delivered, directly reaching 14,153 consumers and 5,905 frontline workers at agencies such as: housing associations, local Citizens Advice and other advice agencies, children's centres, elderly people's groups, health/mental health support agencies and groups working with, for example, disabled people; drug/alcohol misuse; domestic violence; carers; and vulnerably housed people.

An independent evaluation of the 2015/16 campaign was conducted by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. Key findings include:

Consumers

  • 30% of clients said they would apply for the Warm Home Discount.

  • 98% of survey respondents felt that they found the EBD session useful.

  • Over half of consumers reported intending to look for a better deal on their energy as a result of the EBD session.  

  • For some clients, the EBD session highlighted how switching to a cheaper tariff could help them achieve a quick win - to save them money with minimal hassle:

    • ‘Well, I’d never even looked into switching suppliers. I thought it was going to be a lot of hassle, and actually it was really easy.’ (Michelle)

  • Another key piece of advice that clients took away was to add their kilowatt hours of energy use into the comparison site rather than the amount spent.  This gave them greater confidence that the comparison results would be accurate.

    • ‘Having my heaters down, like, on 20. I normally had it on, like, 30….but I can see the difference on that already.’

Front-line workers

  • Following the session, 9 out of 10 front-line workers said they felt more confident about helping their clients to find the best deal on energy costs.

  • 84% said the session had changed their opinion on the importance of fuel poverty for the people they work with.

Reports

How Energy Best Deal has helped

A retired tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company, Susie*, heard about the Energy Best Deal drop-in that was taking place in her local community centre and decided to go along and find out more.

Susie had never switched tariff or fuel supplier before and as a result she was on the standard tariff, meaning she was paying more than she needed to be for her usage. So, she wanted to find out if she could save money by getting a better deal.

Before coming to the drop-in session Susie didn’t realise it was even possible to change her gas or electricity supplier, so she was pleased to have found out that she was eligible to save money by switching.

Susie undertook a price comparison and was delighted to find out she could save almost £400 a year by switching, so that’s what she did!

As well as being able to switch provider and save money, whilst at the session Susie found out about other useful information including different ways of paying for her energy and she received energy efficiency advice for keeping her home warm.

Susie said, “I’m so pleased I decided to go to the drop-in session. The free advice offered by Lee and Helen was really useful – and best of all, by simply switching supplier, I’m going to save £383 this year!

It was so easy to do, I would recommend everyone to go along to these drop-ins to see how they can save money.”


*Names have been changed

 

To find out more please contact further information

energybestdeal@citizensadvice.org.uk

Please note that we cannot provide advice via this email address. To contact your local Citizens Advice follow this link