Households facing higher energy bills could benefit from free advice offered by the Energy Best Deal campaign, which is being stepped up this winter.
The campaign, run by national charity Citizens Advice with support from energy regulator Ofgem and utility companies EDF and E.ON, offers a package of energy-related advice for consumers.
Last year, over 44,000 customers are estimated to have benefited from the scheme.
Staff from agencies that give face-to-face advice to the public have been trained to deliver advice that will help people make their homes energy efficient, ensure they are claiming the right benefits and are on the best energy tariff for them. To date almost 1,360 frontline advisers have been trained.
At least 280 sessions will be delivered across England and Wales in the first few months of this year. Presentations are aimed at consumers and frontline advisers who are likely to be in contact with those most at risk of falling into fuel poverty, such as pensioners and those on low incomes.
Last year, the Energy Best Deal campaign saw 370 energy advice sessions delivered across England and Wales by Citizens Advice Bureaux and other agencies, such as housing associations and independent advice agencies.
John Rhodes of Citizens Advice said: “At a time when temperatures are regularly freezing, it is more important than ever to reach the more vulnerable consumers. It is vital that they know how to get the best deal on their energy, where they can get help to keep their homes warm and how to keep their bills as low as possible.”
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner for sustainable development, said: “The Energy Best Deal scheme delivers vital practical advice on the wide range of help available to householders struggling to manage their energy bills. It is important that consumers will continue to receive this information face-to-face from a trusted source this winter.”
An independent evaluation in 2010 showed that 98% of consumers who received Energy Best Deal information found the sessions useful and more than a third went on to look into getting a better deal on their energy. The campaign continues this year due to funding from energy suppliers EDF Energy and E.ON.