Liz Male discusses how the Big Energy Vision is helping UK consumers take control of their energy bills.
With fuel costs creeping up year on year and energy bills now the top financial concern for households, it’s shocking to hear that people are worrying more about how to pay for their heating than they are about paying their mortgage or rent.
Research by YouGov has demonstrated that two thirds of households don’t feel in control of energy bills or think there’s anything they can do about them, but instead feel helpless and not sure where to turn. It’s a pernicious problem that isn’t going to go away and isn’t helped by a lack of trust in energy companies, often compounded by the arguments seen in politics and the media.
Such a big problem is hard to tackle, particularly when the government isn’t really prioritizing energy efficiency improvements anymore. But it is never too late to start a new national conversation on energy and for UK households to be empowered to take control of their rising energy bills.
A collaborative force of influential businesses and charities has now come together with the aim of creating a step-change in engagement with energy control solutions, shifting people from ‘I can’t do anything about my energy bills’ to ‘I will do something’.
This long-term campaign, the ‘Big Energy Vision’, was launched in October 2014 and all partners have committed to promoting energy efficiency solutions that make it easy to use less, waste less and pay less. Through a shared, positive language, they are also highlighting the options that are most straightforward and trustworthy.
Together this group of organisations, including TrustMark, John Lewis, Home Retail Group, National Trust, Citizens Advice, Calor, uSwitch, Energy Saving Trust, Energy UK, UK Green Building Council, Global Action Plan, Willmott Dixon, and Groundwork, will communicate clear, simple and consistent messages about the things people can do to control their fuel bills.
Coordinated by not-for-profit organisations Forum for the Future and Behaviour Change, the campaign will counter the frustration, confusion and distrust householders feel by highlighting positive, practical actions they can take.
TrustMark is wholly committed to supporting this initiative. We want to see homeowners feeling confident, positive and protected in taking control of their home energy efficiency, and we want to see the market grow for a wide range of energy saving home improvements and maintenance jobs that can be done by local, reputable tradespeople.
The Big Energy Vision is not a one-shot campaign. It will take time for our ambitious message to resonate. But by sharing our unified approach and vision, we can hopefully help households take control of their energy bills and enjoy comfortable, healthy homes without the anxiety of ever-rising costs.
Liz Male is chairman of TrustMark, the government-endorsed scheme for local tradesmen throughout the UK for all home repair, maintenance and improvement work - www.trustmark.org.uk.
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