https://decc.blog.gov.uk/2016/03/14/guest-blog-from-yorkshire-energy-doctor-kate-urwin/

Guest blog from Yorkshire Energy Doctor, Kate Urwin

Last week the CMA reported that consumers are paying £1.7 billion a year more than they need to on their energy bills, with 70% of the domestic customers of the six largest energy firms on the more expensive ‘default’ standard variable tariff (SVT). We have invited a couple of the DECC Big Energy Saving Network champions to talk us through their work helping people save energy and money in their communities.

Kate Urwin, Yorkshire Energy Doctor

I feel so strongly that people should not be paying more than they need to for their energy that I set-up Yorkshire Energy Doctor in 2014 specifically to help people reduce their energy bills and be warm in their homes.

We have been spreading the switching message through home visits, drop-in sessions and community outreach events, helping for example 73 residents in Selby and Bradford save a total of nearly £21,000, an average of £287 per year each. Mostly these are people with no internet access who have never switched energy company before.

Kate Urwin
Kate Urwin, right, with members of a community group in Bradford, Yorkshire.

The people we meet often don’t know where to start, think it is confusing to switch and prefer to stay with what they know. We provide the one-to-one support and re-assurance which is vital in helping people make a change. Even if it is just as simple as not paying more than you need to on Standard tariffs.

The biggest saving we have found so far has been £735 per year for a family with young children in Bradford. We’ve found you sometimes don’t even need to change energy company to save money. One gentleman in Tadcaster saved over £400 per year with the same company but a different tariff.

We don’t just speak to individuals but also train up members of staff from frontline organisations such as Children's Centres, Housing Associations, Health and Social Care, Advocacy Services and other voluntary and community organisations. Nearly 200 people have been trained to help save money on their energy bills and be warm in their homes.

Is there someone you know who could do with some help saving by switching? Visit www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com for more information on switching energy supplier for yourself or helping others.

Yorkshire Energy Doctor

Yorkshire Energy Doctor is a Community Interest Company receiving funding from DECC's Big Energy Saving Network, Warm and Well in North Yorkshire, Selby Social Prescribing, Warm Homes Healthy Children and via projects funded by Northern Powergrid's Community Energy Seed Fund.

Big Energy Saving Network

The Big Energy Saving Network is a DECC funded initiative made up of local community groups and charities across Great Britain that can advise on energy saving in the home, switching energy suppliers, different energy tariffs and available government support to help the most vulnerable get warmer homes and lower fuel bills.

Throughout the Network, 180 specially trained ‘Champions’ co-ordinate the training of community volunteers so that they can proactively provide energy saving advice through events and outreach programmes in local communities to help households reduce their energy costs and consumption.