Edward Davey writes: Working in partnership to keep bills down

Energy-bills-006I’m very aware just how many people are worried about bills, not least their energy bills.  These concerns will only increase over the coming months as the nights draw in, the temperature begins to drop and the ‘on switch’ for the heating is flicked.

I’m doing everything I can to help people keep their bills down, from piloting ‘collective switching’ which allows communities to use their buying power to get the best deals from energy suppliers, to legislating to make sure the ‘Big 6’ simplify bills, and switch people who are on ‘dead tariffs’ to the cheapest variable deal they offer.  We are also introducing competitition to the market to ensure we level up the playing field for independent generators and suppliers.

Yesterday, I announced two important new partnership initiatives which will help give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions and save money on bills.

I visited John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford Street to launch a new energy efficiency labelling scheme which my Department has been working on with them.  The idea originally came from a Lib Dem colleague, and the trial will allow consumers to see the running costs of tumble dryers, washing machines and washer dryers and help them to choose greener products, but also save money.  Just by choosing a more energy efficient washer dryer, consumers could save £500 over its lifetime.

We’ll have to wait for the results of the trial, but this is exactly the sort of scheme that I want to see rolled out nationwide and not just by John Lewis.  Increasing energy efficiency is a win-win, as it helps consumers to go greener and protect the environment, but also to keep their costs down.  It’s also a good example of ‘nudge theory’ working.  This is an initiative from Governement in partnerhsip with a leading retailer, allowing consumers to make informed choices, based on clear information, rather than lenghty, prescriptive regulations telling people or retailers what’s best for them.

I also launched the new Big Energy Saving Network which provides funding for an army of 500 volunteers to help people compare, switch, and save money on bills. Age UK, Citizens Advice Bureau, Energy Saving Trust, ACRE and the NEA are all signed up to help offer advice.

This new army of volunteers will help the most disengaged and vulnerable to get better deals.  Unfortunately more than 80% of people didn’t switch energy supplier last year and they could be missing out on savings of up to £158.

The battle to help consumers keep their bills down goes on, but putting more information in their hands, allowing them to make the right decisions, will help to save them money over the winter months ahead.

* Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Acting co-Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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7 Comments

  • Not jobs then? 🙁

    Or are the volunteers getting paid for providing such a valuable service? If so, these sound like good ideas 🙂

  • Helen Dudden 10th Sep '13 - 6:53pm

    Dear Ed, some us give up before we start. I have no insulation in my single cavity walls, been this way for several years. No secondary glazing to the windows, I just hope that housing will soon get going.

    I so want to be warm.

  • Martin Caffrey 11th Sep '13 - 3:08am

    Hmmm…..I can help you keep YOUR bills down m’laddo.

    I mean, FOURTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS for an envelope stuffing machine??? Blimey, you could have gotten a dozen ‘illegal’ immigrants in to do that work, you would have saved a fortune! It’s just a pity those Home Office vans, or ‘Panzers’ as I like to call them, that you Libdems & Conservatives thought were a good idea have persuaded them all to go home.

  • Julian Tisi 11th Sep '13 - 9:30am

    @ Helen Dudden: If you have no insulation in your cavity walls, I’d ask why – you may be able to do something about it at little or perhaps no cost. If the walls are identified as “hard to treat” or if you live in a relatively poorer postcode then you’ll probably find that energy companies are able to fill them for free, under the Energy Company Obligation. Even if you’re unable to get free insulation, wall insulation is one of those things that could pay for itself and there’s the Green Deal too. Even though the finance loans haven’t taken off under the Green deal, there are still “cashback” discounts available. I’d certainly investigate.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Sep '13 - 11:53pm

    @Julian Tisi I have no cavity walls, the wall to the back of my property is just around 6 inches thick. The property is Georgian and I am dreading the oncoming of winter.

    No double glazing, just large old windows, high ceilings, and no house building, we are at a standstill.

    I went to a meeting this evening on the subject, and we talked about the narrow minded attitudes on the subject. Even my housing provider has written to the councilors, saying ,Yes to housing.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Sep '13 - 11:53pm

    @Julian Tisi I have no cavity walls, the wall to the back of my property is just around 6 inches thick. The property is Georgian and I am dreading the oncoming of winter.

    No double glazing, just large old windows, high ceilings, and no house building, we are at a standstill.

    I went to a meeting this evening on the subject, and we talked about the narrow minded attitudes on the subject. Even my housing provider has written to the councilors, saying ,Yes to housing.

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