Age UK tells older people to act on energy tariffs
Published on 09 February 2014 12:30 AM
Age UK encourages older people to act now to get the most from energy market reforms
- Age UK encourages customers to act now with just 50 days remaining to the deadline for industry roll out of Ofgem's Retail Market Review
- Over half of over 60s unsure whether new government initiative will bring clarity to the energy market (57%) while more than two thirds unaware of the impact the new measures will have on their energy bills (71%)
Research* conducted by Age UK Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of the charity, has found that more than half (57%) of over 60s remain unsure whether the Retail Market Review (RMR) will help their understanding of the energy market, and less than one percent (0.6%) feel that the changes will bring greater trust in providers.
The RMR is being rolled out by Ofgem, the industry regulator, and seeks to improve Britain's energy market for the benefit of all consumers. However, 40% of those surveyed in November didn't realise that responsibility falls on the consumer to take action when the new tariffs come into effect. Energy customers could be placed on a standard tariff that may not be the product best suited to their needs, nor the cheapest, unless they proactively contact their supplier to discuss their options.
When asked late last year, almost one in five over 60s (19%) indicated that they had heard of the market changes from their energy provider while just under two thirds (65%) had heard in the media. It is vital that customer awareness is maximised to ensure they are able to respond to the changes and secure the best deal for their individual circumstances.
Age UK Enterprises and its energy product provider E.ON are communicating with their customers to tell them about these changes regarding Age UK Energy tariffs** and the importance of proactively checking with their energy provider to ensure that they are on the best deal. And with just 50 days to go until the final changes are implemented, consumers are being urged to act now.
Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Enterprises, said:
'The Retail Market Review is a huge change to the energy sector and in the longer term will be good for customers by simplifying energy tariffs.
'But there is evidently more work to be done to ensure older consumers are made aware of the changes that lie ahead. There are currently 14.5 million people*** aged 60 and over in the UK, more than 62% of whom have never changed their energy provider****. It is consumers like this that we need to make sure are aware of the imminent changes.
'Age UK has long championed "savvy consumers", empowering older people to shop around and better manage their financial arrangements, and we encourage people to take a proactive response to the RMR.
It is hugely important that those who are unsure of whether their energy tariff will change, or are concerned at what has happened to their tariff, should contact their energy supplier to ensure that they are on the best tariff for them.'
Age UK has a national network of partners who are also able to give advice and help.
Further guidance on RMR and seeking the right tariff is available from Age UK's factsheet Switching energy supplier:
For additional information please contact Rachel Finlay by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0207 360 7877
* Consumer research of the over 60s and their understanding of the Retail Market Review on energy company price tariffs and how it might affect them. Poll ran from the 14th to 19th November 2013 to a contact sample of 4,000 adults over the age of 60. It should be noted that while Age UK Enterprises has evidence that some energy companies had written to customers about RMR by the end of October 2013 it is likely that not all would have done so by the time of polling. For each question respondents were presented with a range of answers to choose from.
** E.ON has worked with Age UK (and formerly Age Concern) since 1990 to help improve the lives of people in later life. Age UK Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of the Charity, provides a tailored Energy product for those in later life developed with E.ON. Designed to meet the needs of those in later life, the Age UK Fixed 2 Year tariff has no exit charges and offers visibility and peace of mind on what is to be paid for two years.
*** Source: \Mid-2012 Population Estimates UK Office for National Statistics, 2013
**** Ofgem / ipsos Mori research June 2013