Following concerns raised by constituents about the impact of coronavirus on people’s energy bills, Delyn MP Rob Roberts was keen to investigate the situation and meet with some of the UK’s major energy providers to find out about the support available and how it could help households in Delyn.
Coronavirus has impacted many areas of our lives, and one area, which has perhaps been overlooked, is the impact that Covid has had on the levels of fuel poverty. Specifically, the ability of households to pay their rising energy bills – whether they are low-income and vulnerable households or households which are new to financial hardship.
With more people staying at home either to work or for schooling, the consumption and cost of bills has dramatically increased. Research from Uswitch shows that UK consumers could spend an extra £52 million a week in total on energy bills, with households with people working from home spending an extra £16 a month on energy – a total of £195 a year for those on poor value tariffs. With the pandemic causing further financial hardship for many, coupled with winter weather and the effect that this has on our energy bills, it is vital that the right assistance is available and, just as importantly, accessible.
Consequently, Rob met with the UK’s major energy providers – British Gas, ScottishPower, EON and EDF, to find out their assessment of the situation and ensure that there is help available for their customers in Delyn, and across the UK. As the Chair of the APPG on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, Rob has a particular interest in supporting measures which will help deliver affordable warmth for all households.
During these meetings, it was highlighted that there had been an increase in consumption for most people during the pandemic. However, it was positive to hear that all the energy companies have stepped up to provide extra support and advice to customers over the last few months. Whether it was giving payment holidays, giving discretionary credit for those on prepayment meters or providing debt advice, it was clear that companies were aware of the impact of the pandemic on energy bills and people’s financial situation. It was also reassuring to hear about the additional support for vulnerable customers, such as those on the Priority Services Register (PSR), with most of the companies being proactive in their contact with these customers and providing support through dedicated funds.
Commenting, Rob said:
“With so many of us seeing rising energy bills due to being required to stay at home, it is important for everyone that they are aware of the help that is available.
“I know that sometimes it can be difficult to find this support and know where to turn to, so I hope that by putting all this information together, my constituents can access the support they need.”
Further to this, Rob wrote to the Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to ensure that there is appropriate resources available to help households in Wales. To read this letter, please view the attachments below.
As it is vital that the most vulnerable households can access support, Rob is glad to see UK Government policies offering assistance on top of energy provider support. This includes the Warm Homes Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
To ensure that all households in Delyn are aware of the help available, the major energy providers have shared some useful resources with Rob which highlight their key contacts and advice. Information from EDF and ScottishPower can be accessed below, support from British Gas can be accessed here (including support from the British Gas Energy Trust), with help from EON accessible here.
More general energy advice and support can also be accessed through Smart Energy GB and National Energy Action (NEA).
If you are having a specific issue with your energy bills or energy efficiency in your home, Rob urges constituents to get in touch directly with their energy provider or with himself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an issue which you would like Rob to look into, please get in touch via his email – email@example.com or via his Mold Office - 01352 710 232.