Hundreds of elderly and vulnerable residents in Hastings and Rother are set to save around £200 a year after being helped survive the winter by local energy savings groups.
Energise Sussex Coast, Horizons CIC and RX Energy in Rye provided a third of the 15 volunteer community energy champions across Sussex and Kent who will have reached out to help 1500 vulnerable residents and 200 front line workers save money this winter.
Richard Watson, Director of Energise Sussex, says The Department of Energy and Climate Change, who set up the Big Energy Saving Network scheme, claim households in the south east are missing out on £390 million pounds a year by sticking to their current energy supplier. He added: “In Hastings and Rother this means £11 million is lost to the local economy for the 60 per cent of households who have never switched.”
Mr Watson said the way energy companies have treated loyal customers, especially pensioners, is no longer acceptable. “We visited one Hastings lady in her 70’s living alone whose energy bill was £330 a year more than it needed to be.
“This was because she had been harassed by two energy companies who claimed incorrectly that she owed them money. She paid them both and put herself on a prepayment meter to avoid the situation happening again.
“This is a very able and intelligent person but how would she know that her prepayment meter gives her the most expensive energy there is? She should not have been on an Economy 7 tariff, which is designed for electric night storage heaters, and she has gas central heating!”
Mr Watson says by shopping around and taking advantage of the best energy deals on the market, millions of people can save at least £200, with one resident having saved a whopping £810 and says there’s other money saving incentives available.“Clients in need of extra help are being referred to the free Winter Home Check Service provided by East Sussex County Council or to the Energy Companies Trust funds for help with debts or replacement white goods.”
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd emphasised the importance of shopping around for the best deals.
She said: “We’ve already taken £50 off bills and now we’re urging people to take advantage of the most competitive energy market we’ve ever had to save hundreds of pounds.”
There is an energy clinic at Station Plaza Medical Centre, Hastings, next Tuesday (March 24) 10am–2pm and clinics continue each Tuesday at the Town Hall 10am-3pm.