14 January 2022
Summary: Energy prices are on the rise and will disproportionately impact lower-income households. MTVH has partnered with Pocket Power to help residents save more on their household bills and stay on top of increasing costs.
With the ongoing pandemic, rise in energy prices and Universal Credit uplift having ended , many will be facing financial hardship this winter. 1 in 10 people, or 5 million British adults, have less than £10 a month left over once they have paid their essential bills. Many, particularly those from low income households find themselves struggling to make ends meet and can fall into debt. That’s why we have partnered with Pocket Power, a social enterprise on a mission to put money back in people’s pockets.
According to OFGEM, only 1 out of 5 of people switched their household bill suppliers in 2019 resulting in a loss of £4.2 billion worth of savings on just energy bills for UK consumers. Issues with internet access, time (about 30% of consumers don’t look to switch or seek discounts because they believe it will take too much time) and trust-people often don’t have confidence in the process and don’t understand the jargon are some of the barriers highlighted.
With that in mind, we have ensured to develop a simple and reliable process for our residents by making referrals through Pocket Power’s online appointment system. This enables Pocket Power staff to lead on the process and contact residents directly, allowing them to determine their needs and understand where savings can be made. Once this information is compiled, they are able to contact relevant utility providers on the resident’s behalf to negotiate better deals, switch and apply for discounts. In the majority of cases, all the actions are dealt within a one-hour phone call.
Since partnering with Pocket Power in December 2020, we have helped over 173 MTVH residents switch to cheaper deals and apply for discounts for their household bills saving them a total of £43,000. Resident, Ellie was provided support over the summer when she was already worried about how high her bills would be over the winter. Pocket Power’s Savings Champion, Chinazo helped Ellie apply for the Big Difference Scheme (a discount for low income households) for water which means she will get up to 90% off her bills. He also contacted Virgin Media and renegotiated her broadband and TV contract from £93 to £61 per month and finally switched her to a cheaper deal with EON saving a her a total of £659.
Ellie said: “Finding and negotiating energy deals is something I’ve struggled with, so I was so pleased to have received this support and finally have the opportunity to save money for my family. MTVH and Pocket Power really took the time to understand my financial position and ensured to inform me through every step of the process.”
Chinazo also spoke to another resident, Sheena and helped her apply for the affinity water discount scheme to cut her water bills in half. He got her set up on a new deal with Virgin Media and switched her prepayment energy deal to EDF. This meant a total saving of £421 which Sheena said was a huge relief!
Although, there are a few incentives available for low-income households to save money, this partnership is an opportunity for our residents to withstand unexpected expenses and save for the future.
If you are an MTVH resident and you are worried about your financial situation, please call 0203 535 3535 and ask to be referred to the Empowering Futures team.