We know that comparing and changing energy supplier is particularly challenging for residents who do not have internet access. Rural Action Yorkshire have been running Digital Skills courses in the Hambleton District which are aimed at residents who have little experience of using computers and the internet and who want to increase their confidence in this area. At the end of January we attended these classes to show new computer users how price comparison websites can be used to save money on energy costs. This was part of the Warm and Well in North Yorkshire project.
We ran 7 sessions in total at 4 venues – Hackforth Village Hall, Dalton Village Hall, Husthwaite Village Hall and Morton-on-Swale Village Hall.
Many of the 56 attendees had brought their own energy bills along so could work through the price comparison websites for their own homes. There were significant savings to be made with one-quarter of attendees finding potential savings of over £300 per year. It is really encouraging that 11 people said that they would now change their energy company and 13 people said that they may do. Some feedback included:
“Good session, very encouraging. I went home showed my husband and we changed that day”.
“Very useful. We have already switched tariff with our existing energy company”.
“Great opportunity to look at the choices again. Switch sites much improved. Good rapport with Kate”.
“It pays to shop around”.
“The session was well conducted and helpful”.
Combining computer skills courses with the use of price comparison websites has been a successful way of engaging with this audience and showing that it is easier than people may expect to find cheaper energy tariffs. This also opens up the scope to use such websites to save money on other things too such as car and house insurance.