On 1st April 2022 the UK’s energy price cap rose affecting around 22 million energy customers across the country. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase from £1,277 to £1,971. Prepayment meter customers will see an even greater increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,0171.
The cost of living is already spiralling, with inflation jumping to 5.4% in December – the highest rate in almost 30 years with further increases anticipated. And this is coming on top of rising prices for fuel and food.
Without financial support, some two million more people are forecast to be plunged into fuel poverty this year, meaning a staggering total of 6 million people in the UK will struggle to heat and power their homes.
“The proportion of households spending more than 10% of their income on electricity and heating bills – a threshold used to define ‘fuel poverty’ in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – will triple to 27% from April.”
Resolution Foundation think tank
The good news is, we have solutions to help energy companies to support customers who are struggling with the rising costs of energy. But before we introduce our customer engagement solutions, let’s take a look at the reasons behind the energy crisis.
What’s caused the energy crisis?
There are multiple reasons why energy prices have risen. The squeeze on wholesale gas prices around the world began to take hold in 2021, caused by a combination of the rapid pace of the economic bounce-back after the pandemic and extreme weather events across the globe.
While countries worldwide are committed to reducing their carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy, it is not yet available in sufficient guaranteed quantities. A relatively windless summer across Europe and droughts in Brazil also meant that the amount of renewable energy generated by turbines and hydropower for storage was lower than anticipated.
Complicating the picture still further are fractious geopolitics. The Russia- Ukraine conflict saw Germany block regulatory approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as punishment for Kremlin aggression. The conflict has so far driven the prices of energy and fuel even higher and caused the price of oil to jump to its highest level in almost 14 years. At the same time wholesale gas prices have more than doubled.
Russia is the second-biggest exporter of crude oil and the world’s largest natural gas exporter. Whilst the UK only gets 6% of its crude oil and 5% of its gas from Russia, the EU sources nearly half of its gas from the country. If one country that is reliant on Russian supplies receives less gas, they have to replace it, which in turn impacts the supplies of gas for other countries. That’s why British energy prices and bills are still affected by the war.
The UK has been particularly hard-hit by all of these factors. Around 85% of British homes are run on gas central heating and as a country we are both reliant on imports and have insufficient storage infrastructure in place to retain supplies.
How Advizzo can help
Advizzo can help utilities to create personalized outreach programs to help support customers during the energy crisis. Our customer engagement platform and solutions leverage the powerful theory and psychology of nudging, which you can read about in our blog ‘How a nudge can help your customer save energy and water’. Using data, we surface opportunities to help individual customers and households to take relevant actions to reduce their energy consumption and therefore their bill.
We can also help you to identify potentially vulnerable customers. We will take your customer data and combine it with open data. Then, using data science, we will profile your customers to help identify those that might fall into a vulnerable category – whether that’s because they are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick, have a long-term medical condition, a hearing or visual impairment, a child under the age of five, mental health issues etc. We can then segment customers according to the category they fall into. You can read more about this in our blog – how Advizzo provides proactive support for vulnerable customers.
We have proved that we can help customers save up to 3% per year just by sending them proactive and personalized tips and advice on simple behaviors and changes they can make at home. We can also help you direct customers towards additional opportunities to save energy, such as using a smart thermostat or installing insulation – which could save them up to 15%!
Ways to save on your energy bill
- Send regular meter readings to keep your bill accurate
- When replacing appliances choose more energy efficient ones
- Add loft or cavity wall insulation
- Replace traditional light bulbs with energy saving bulbs
- Heat only the parts of your home that you need
- Use portable electric heater if you only need to heat one room
- Wash clothes and sheets at a lower temperature
How will you support your customers during the energy crisis? There’s really no time to waste. Our ‘plug and play’ solution is fast becoming the go-to customer engagement solution for water companies and energy suppliers. Because we have the science and the technology refined and ready to roll, once we have the data required, we can have your customer engagement solution up and running within a matter of weeks. Get in touch to find out more.