As for many people, retired couple Janette and John Kent have seen their household energy bills go up in recent years. They spoke to the Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) who passed them onto Changeworks, an impartial environmental charity that provides household energy advice to SBHA tenants. Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Advisor Chris is based in the Borders and supported Janette and John over several months.
Changeworks organised a home visit to review Janette and John’s bills and found they were paying too much for their gas and electricity. They paid their bills quarterly at the post office and were on standard tariffs with separate suppliers for gas and electricity.
We discussed the benefits of switching to a new energy supplier and exploring different tariffs and ways to pay, for example direct debit. Janette and John were initially sceptical having heard some negative stories about switching. We discussed the pros and cons of switching and paying by direct debit, and left John and Janette to think this over.
Hands on assistance
Janette contacted Changeworks after a couple of weeks to discuss the tariffs further. A second appointment was arranged and we assisted Janette and John in switching. We helped them move their gas and electricity to a new supplier; they went onto a fixed price dual fuel tariff paying by monthly direct debit. As a result, their electricity and gas bills reduced by £315 a year.
In discussing the switch with Janette and John, we also discovered they were entitled to the Warm Home Discount. This is a £140 rebate that can be credited to your household electricity account if you are eligible. We applied for the discount on their behalf once the switch was completed. The total saving from both the switch and discount was £455 a year.
Janette and John said, “Chris was a godsend. We don’t have a computer so couldn’t find out how to get a cheaper tariff. Chris came to our house and helped us connect, he gave us all the information we needed and helped us through the switching process. Very, very helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better service.”
Changeworks delivers the service, known as Borders HELP, in partnership with the SBHA and with funding from the Scottish Government’s Peoples and Communities Fund.
Find out more about our fuel poverty services and how they can help.