Combatting the Centrica price hike

Ian Napier, CCO, Switchee

2017

Following Centrica’s announcement to raise electricity prices by 12.5%, it is more pressing than ever to find a solution that cuts resident energy bills and combats fuel poverty.

Centrica’s price hike means British Gas are the last of the big six suppliers to raise their tariffs. The move will affect 3.1m customers in the UK. This, according to The Guardian, will lead to an average annual dual fuel bill rise of 7.3%, or £76 to £1,120.

Various Ministers and Government departments expressed concerns over the price rises, citing unfairness on customers and defending government policy. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “Energy firms should treat all their customers fairly and we’re concerned the price rise will hit many people already on poor-value tariffs.”

Rising fuel costs threaten to severely limit heating use for the most vulnerable.

Centrica responded by blaming the rising costs on government policies, such as subsidies supporting the development of renewable energy production.

Regardless of the reasons behind the change, millions of people across the UK will be affected by the rise in energy prices.

What can be done to find a solution?

With four million UK households already living in fuel poverty, and the number set to rise, yesterday’s developments are likely to hit low income households the hardest. Poorly heated households pose significant public health risks, that over the next 15 years the NEA believe could cost the NHS £22bn.

So, now more than ever, it is vital that affordable housing providers find solutions that alleviate the growing pressure on their residents to afford their energy bills. There are various approaches to ensuring resident’s energy bills are kept as low as possible.

Changing providers is one way that fuel savings can be generated.

The most obvious solution is providing residents with clear guides on which energy provider offers the best rates and guiding residents through the subsequent switching process. Following numerous discussions, Switchee have often found affordable housing residents heaping praise on their landlords for help with switching energy providers.

Of course, such praise does little harm to the reputation of any affordable housing provider. However, we believe that with Switchee, the first smart thermostat for affordable housing, more can be done.

The installation of a smart thermostat in properties can save residents up to 15% on their energy bills: by learning occupancy patterns and how heating systems perform, smart thermostats like Switchee can make heating households cheaper.

At Switchee it is our mission to combat fuel poverty and empower landlords with remote data insights that save them money and improve well-being for their residents.

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