Winter is fast approaching and it’s the time of year when energy bills can start to increase, which disproportionately affects the poorest households.
Recently, Ofgem increased the energy price cap by £139 a year. This increase will affect 15 million households across Great Britain on variable or default rates and prepayment meters. The increase is a result of an unprecedented rise in global prices for fossil fuels, especially gas, which will feed into all customer energy bills in the UK.
You can read more about the background to the issue and the action the UK Government is taking here.
Energy bills could rise by £240 per household next year – but simple energy saving steps can cut costs. With this and much more happening in the news every day, consumers can often feel overwhelmed. Consider offering energy saving advice or tips through your own channels, which could increase customer engagement and wellbeing.
What can you do?
For many homeowners, understanding where the most efficient and cost-effective area to start effective home improvements can be challenging. Offering simple ‘quick-win’ energy efficiency advice could save them significant money on their energy bills and stay warm, depending on their home situation.
For longer term improvements, you can help customers by pointing to support they might be eligible for, such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme or suggesting long-term solutions, such as grants for home improvements.
You could give them tips on
Heating their home
Taking control of heating could save households money on their energy bills. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (and using them efficiently) can save £70 a year for a gas-heated, three-bedroom semi.
Reducing heat loss
Even little fixes around the home can mount up to significant savings on energy bills. If your customers want to reduce their carbon emissions and keep energy bills low, installing insulation or draught-proofing can help.
Using energy efficient products
Moving to energy efficient appliances can be an excellent way to save money on bills, as well as reduce carbon footprints in both short and long term scenarios.
Getting financial support
Our consumer research regularly highlights that many UK residents are worried about their energy costs, and would like to do something about it. Direct them to financial support that may be available to them.
Saving energy doesn’t need to stop at home. Tips and advice relating to the sustainable travel hierarchy and shared travel can save costs day and night.
Inspiration in the workplace
Showcasing your organisation’s sustainability credentials and getting your staff on board with sustainability goals can show you’re taking energy efficiency seriously.
How can you do it?
There are more ways to connect with customers in the digital age. According to Ofcom, the average UK person spends around 3.5 hours online every day – this makes your online communications more important than ever. Below are some places you can deploy critical energy saving advice and how.
Energy savings in your newsletter or social media
Knowing the different demographics of your customers and how they think about energy is an important step towards understanding how to communicate with them. In addition, dropping in some energy saving tips or quick wins into your newsletter can be a great way to support customers.
If you want to increase customer engagement and give them verified ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home, you can’t do much better than have the Home Energy Efficiency Toolor plugged into your website and under your brand. This empowers your customers to discover information about their home, at the same time as putting the potential costs and savings right in front of them.
The tool provides a custom action plan that suits their home and budget, based on their inputs.
You could also provide proven and effective energy advice if you have support staff or advisors. While it requires someone to be available to chat via phone or online, it does provide an additional level of customer support.
Geographically, there are certain areas more likely to be impacted by the new increase in energy bills, based on home characteristics. There are currently around 29 million homes in the UK, with 62% of those below the recommended minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C. Use housing stock data to understand which households could benefit from your support.
Download our guide for consumer home energy efficiency communications for this winter.
What about non-domestic energy? Are you a small business struggling with energy bills?
You should contact your supplier if you’re worried about paying your business energy bills. Suppliers may be able to create a payment plan that is more affordable. You can also ask for a breakdown of payments, more time to pay or even access to hardship funds.
In normal times, it pays to shop around for cheaper energy deals, but as there are difficulties in the energy market right now, it’s best to stick with your current energy supplier.
The more customers you can support at home, regardless of your product, the more you’ll be able to engage them with useful communications and increase customer loyalty. If your business would like to know more about how to connect with customers through energy advice, our consultants are ready to help – drop us a message and connect with us today.
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