Choosing an Energy Supplier
How do Energy Suppliers Support Customers with Disabilities?
The energy industry is one which often sparks fierce debate, we often see energy companies being attacked in the media about rising energy prices and increased profits and perhaps now more than ever it is easier for customers to vote with their feet and switch suppliers. But when did you last consider how your energy supplier might be able to help you?
It is estimated that around 95% of the power used in the United Kingdom is provided by the six main energy suppliers which include companies such as British Gas, SSE and E.ON and that in the last few months alone over 100,000 customers have moved away from one of the “big six” in favor of smaller independent suppliers.
Official figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicate that 1.3 million electricity customers and 866,000 gas customers changed supplier in the final quarter of 2013. The most common reasons for switching suppliers are that people are looking to reduce the cost of their energy bills or seeking better customer service.
What are the energy suppliers doing to help me?
Below we have taken a quick look at what some of the largest energy suppliers are doing to offer support.
In March of this year SSE announced its promise to freeze energy prices on domestic gas and electricity in Great Britain until at least 2016 –This is the largest unconditional price guarantee that the domestic energy market has seen.
SSE are able to offer bills in alternative formats such as large print or braille and they do have a dedicated Care line for customers with additional needs.
You can find out more about the SSE Care line by calling 0800 072 8625 a text phone service is also available by calling 0800 622 839
E.ON offers a fixed tariff for a period of 24 months to customers who are aged over 60.
Customers who sign up for this tariff will also receive a free Age U.K Welcome pack. If you visit the E.ON website you can also find out about the products and services they offer to support customers with disabilities or additional requirements.
British Gas like most energy suppliers have a dedicated phone service for customers with disabilities including those with a hearing impairment and offer a wealth of advice on information on suitable tariffs or additional products.
You can join the British Gas Priority Service by calling 0800 072 8625
A range of websites are now available which make it easier for you to select an energy supplier which will meet you needs. Price Comparison websites allow you to view different tariffs but you can also use sites such as Go Energy Shopping to understand what is available and what to look for.
What should I do if I need additional support?
Managing Your Account
If you are having difficulties in meeting your energy costs or need help with meter readings speak to your supplier, make them aware of your disability and see how they can help you.
Ask for Support
If you would like your bills to be made available in alternative formats or need advice on your energy account you can request this by speaking to your energy supplier. You might be surprised at just how much advice and support is available.
Check for Identification
If you expecting a meter reader or a representative from an energy supplier to visit your home make sure you ask for identification and that you are comfortable in allowing them to access your home.
The key thing when dealing with any company is to build and maintain a strong relationship with them. Sometimes you might feel better going with a supplier who can offer you the best service and who appreciates your needs rather than searching for a bargain.