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UK elderly charity suspends energy deal

• Written by Josh

National elderly charity Age UK have suspended a controversial tariff deal with energy suppliers E.ON following allegations that they were overcharging and receiving huge payments in return.

As reported in The Guardian, it is believed that Ofgem – The government regulator for gas and electricity markets in the UK –  have now launched an investigation into the suspicious activity.

It has been said that Age UK received around £6m from E.ON in return for promoting a tariff which was £245 more per year than the supplier’s cheapest rate.

The ‘special’ tariff promoted by Age UK was said to be costing pensioners £1,049 per year – of which Age UK apparently pocketed £41 for each sale.

National newspaper, The Sun, claim that they saw details of E.ON payments to Age UK in their annual accounts. The newspaper also claimed that there were around 152,000 customers on the overpriced tariff – with a total overspend of around £37m.

Energy guidelines

Following the Age UK allegations this week, Lifeline24 would like to give our readers and customers some advice on how to ensure that you keep your energy prices as low as possible.

Charities and companies like ourselves need to do their best to ensure that the elderly are treated properly and with respect. Money is a huge concern for the elderly given the current pension situation here in the UK and so it is important that they are not overcharged for essentials such as heat in their homes.

Our guide today will show you things that you can do around your home, as well as things you should be looking for when you are searching for the best supplier to join.

1 – Compare prices and shop around

When you are looking to switch providers it is vital that you shop around before making a decision. Jumping into the first ‘deal’ you see could end up costing a lot of money.

There are plenty of comparison websites around which allows you to compare different energy companies and their prices for your house.

A great example of this is the Money Saving Expert website. They have a service which can constantly compare your tariff with others and will let you know if you could be paying less. Each search is matched to the details that you have given their website.

2 – Ask for help

Lifeline24 understands that not all elderly people are comfortable with the internet and using the phone so don’t be afraid to ask family members or neighbours for help.

Your children or grandchildren will be able to use the comparison websites mentioned above to find you the cheapest deal for your home. Not only that but they will also know of other online websites which can help save you money – with the biggest example being cashback.

Most of the top companies and websites here in the UK offer cashback – you just have to know the website to use in order to access these funds.

Your family can also help to inquire, complain or leave a energy company over the phone. As sad as this sounds – companies could potentially take them more seriously. We have seen the elderly exposed and tricked too many times over the phone.

3 – Winter Fuel Payment

The Government offer this payment to anybody over the age of 60. They offer between £100 and £300 – tax-free – to help you with the cost of energy bills in the winter.

The payment is usually made between November and December – and the Government have ensured that the money will be with you before Christmas arrives. You should receive this money through your state pension however if this isn’t the case you should make a claim.

As with most things there are certain criteria that you must meet in order to claim the Winter Fuel Payment. Details of this can be found on the Gov.uk website.

4 – Energy Efficiency

There are little things that you can do inside your home to keep your energy usage as low as possible. The less energy you use the cheaper your bills are going to be.

Here are some tips:

  • Use Energy saving light bulbs – They use around 80% less energy than regular bulbs
  • Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby – They are still using energy. It is estimated that around 8% of all domestic energy usage in Britain is as a result of devices in standby mode.
  • Turn off plugs and lights when not in use
  • Insulate your home – This includes loft insulation, Cavity wall insulation and under-floor insulation.
  • Don’t leave taps running – The less water you use the cheaper the bills.
  • Replace any single-glazed windows with B-rated double glazing.

These are just a few examples of ways in-which you can cut down the cost the energy in your home following the Age UK and E.ON allegations which have been in the news this week.

Click on the following links to see the original news articles – The Sun / The Guardian – A statement from the two companies can be read on The Guardian’s article.

*Comments and figures regarding Age UK and E.ON in this article have been taken from original news sources. An investigation into the reports is now underway by Ofgem.

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