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Energy Best Deal 2015-16

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Helping consumers be more energy savvy

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. Based on evaluations of other financial capability programmes, which show that frontline workers use information to help an average of 15 clients in the year following training, Citizens Advice expects that by spring 2016, Energy Best Deal will have improved the confidence of over 400,000 domestic energy customers across England, Wales and Scotland to shop around, reduce their bills and get help if they are falling behind.

“Overall, there was a sense that Citizens Advice Energy Best Deal Extra appointments are highly valued. Energy advice was only one benefit of the appointments, with many participants having complex needs which required advice across a range of financial and legal topics.”
Centre for Sustainable Energy, 2015

''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. Eighteen people had an idea of how much they would save. The largest amount saved was £1,040 per year while the smallest was £48 per year. On average the expected saving was just over £200 per year.”
Centre for Sustainable Energy, 2015

Energy Best Deal is delivered in England and Wales by members of the regional financial capability forums, and by Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland. Sessions are aimed at low income consumers and front-line staff who work with people at risk of fuel poverty who can be signposted to a range of further help with issues such as fuel debt, benefits entitlement and energy efficiency. Sessions are based around a one hour presentation, with an information leaflet 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. Citizens Advice has recently launched a price comparison tool to help consumers compare prices from different energy suppliers.
  • 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.In 2014/15, 179 delivery partners in England and Wales, including local Citizens Advice centres and other independent advice agencies; housing providers; credit unions; Age UK and 19 Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland delivered Energy Best Deal. 1,370 sessions were delivered, directly reaching 9,068 consumers and 4,914 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
  • groups working with, for example, disabled people; drug/alcohol misuse; domestic violence; carers; vulnerably housed people. 

As a result of additional funding over the last three years, local Citizens Advice delivering Energy Best Deal sessions have been able to offer additional one-to-one appointments to consumers attending the sessions. These sessions allow for a more intensive and bespoke intervention for the consumers.   Local Citizens Advice in England, Wales and Scotland carried out a total of 6,047 Energy Best Deal Extra (EBDx) advice appointments between October 2014 and April 2015.

Cascading the Energy Best Deal message

Rosie* is a parent who attends a project called Healthy Families. One of the sessions was an Energy Best Deal session. Rosie’s husband dealt with all the utilities in their household and so she had no idea that there are so many different suppliers and tariffs. Rosie, to her own surprise, found learning new information about gas and electricity very enjoyable.

Rosie had been helping her mother, Margaret, who had recently queried her energy supplier over a rather substantial bill during the winter months. Like Rosie, Margaret’s husband had normally dealt with all the bills. He passed away a few years ago and Margaret had stayed with the same supplier. Recently she had thought about switching, but Rosie had advised her mum that maybe it was better to stick to what you know.

When Rosie learnt about the different energy tariffs and the potential savings, Rosie felt bad that she had not listened to her mother when she wanted to change supplier. Armed with her new knowledge and some helpful leaflets, Rosie felt prepared to help her mother shop around for a better deal on her gas and electricity. She also felt confident in helping her check whether there were any discounts she may be eligible for. Rosie also took some booklets away to pass on to her friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from potential savings as well.

 *names have been changed

More about Energy Best Deal 2014/15

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Energy Best Deal materials

We have a range of Energy Best Deal materials