New ScottishPower Social Tariff cuts prices by up to £211*
Company will spend £10millon helping 230,000 customers over the next 14 weeks
ScottishPower already completed over half of the UK Government’s Energy Efficiency Programme
ScottishPower expenditure on social measures and energy efficiency programme will spend circa £240 million in next three years
ScottishPower has announced the launch of a new social tariff available to the company’s most vulnerable customers - that will offer annual savings of up to £211*. Available from January 2009 the social tariff will be open to customers who are aged 60 or above and in receipt of a social welfare benefit¹.
The social tariff was announced together with a range of measures making up the ScottishPower Fuel Poverty Programme². The company has committed to spend £10 million on the programme in the next 14 weeks - helping an estimated 230,000 customers this winter.
This forms part of ScottishPower’s £240 million expenditure over the next three years on social measures and energy efficiency programmes that will deliver a comprehensive range of fuel poverty and energy efficiency initiatives that will help lift customers out of fuel poverty and reduce bills.
Willie MacDiarmid, ScottishPower’s Retail Director said:
“The social tariff is an important part of our combined approach to helping our most vulnerable customers. We believe that discounted prices together with access to energy efficiency measures and benefits health checks, will provide customers with a sustainable approach to address each element known to contribute to fuel poverty – the cost of fuel, the energy efficiency of the property and the household income.
“In the UK, as much as £9bn³ in benefits remain unclaimed each year. Our experience to date has shown every £1 invested in this area can release £20 in previously unclaimed benefits payments for customers. We believe this is important in helping people to stay out of fuel poverty in the long term.”
Mr MacDiarmid continued:
“We also understand that these are difficult times and we are monitoring the position of the wholesale market closely. If we continue to see a sustained drop in wholesale energy costs then we will reduce prices as soon as we’re able”.
Last month ScottishPower announced it was on-course to complete almost half (46%) of its Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) by the end of this month. This means the company will have installed energy efficiency measures equivalent to insulating over 380,000 homes across the UK. CERT - which came into effect on 1 April 2008 and is due to run until 2011 - is an obligation on energy suppliers to achieve targets for promoting reductions in carbon emissions in homes across the UK. 40% of the CERT spend is directed towards customers believed to be the most vulnerable therefore also making a contribution to eradicating fuel poverty.
ScottishPower also remains one of only two suppliers to hold standard pre-payment annual bills for both gas and electricity below those for customers on standard quarterly prices. This benefits 640,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable customers by an estimated £16 million per year.
Media Information – Simon McMillan 0141 566 4875/ 07753 622 257
Notes to Editors
*Annual saving of £211.53 shown is based on an average of ScottishPower’s Gas & Electricity Offer offline customers across Britain with annual mains gas usage of 20,500kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 3,300kWh, who pay quarterly (excluding prompt payer discounts) and switch to ScottishPower's Fresh Start Offer. Prices correct as at 1st January 2009.
All figures shown include VAT at the current applicable rate of 5%.
ScottishPower Fuel Poverty Programme
1. Fresh Start Social Tariff
Social Tariff contact line - 0845 2700 700
In January ScottishPower is launching a Social Tariff. The tariff is available to customers who are aged 60 or over and in receipt of a social welfare benefit, e.g. Attendance Allowance, Council Tax Benefit (this does not include Single Occupancy Discount), Disability Living Allowance, Disabled Persons Tax Allowance, Child Tax Credit (where household income is less than £14,600), Housing Benefit, Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Working Tax Credit (where household income is less than £14.600), Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (must also have a Constant Attendance Allowance), or War Disablement Pension (must also have a Constant Attendance Allowance);
The tariff will offer prices equivalent to Discounted Energy online DD rates available in the customer’s area. (The prices are not fixed – they will be subject to future market movements but will always remain the lowest priced SP tariff in the region).
In addition to the tariff customers will be given access to a Benefits Health Check to ensure they are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to and to free or discounted insulation and lighting offers to help maximise the energy efficiency of the home.
Our aim is to offer customers an sustainable package of assistance that addresses each element known to contribute towards fuel poverty:
1. Cost of Fuel – A Social Tariff that brings prices in line with the best online DD package in their region regardless of payment method
2. Energy Efficiency of the Home – Free energy efficiency advice/access to measures where available
3. Household Income – Access to free Benefits Health Check
2. ScottishPower Fuel Poverty Programme
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust - our independent charity established to provide funding to the organisations that represent some of the most vulnerable customers.
The Home Heat Helpline is a free, not for profit phone line funded by energy suppliers and set up to help British energy customers who are struggling to pay their fuel bill and keep warm. The Home Heat Helpline was launched by the Energy Retail Association in October 2005 and has become a cornerstone service for low-income households in need of heating help and advice. Calls to the Home Heat Helpline - 0800 33 66 99 - are free. Advisors are trained to give quick, clear information on the grants, benefits and payment schemes that you may be entitled to as well as basic steps that can be taken to save money on heating bills by making your home more energy efficient.
eaga Pilot ScottishPower supported and helped fund a pilot exercise with eaga. The pilot involved Eaga and Suppliers checking to make sure customers were on the best tariff given their circumstances, and offer other help if appropriate i.e. placing the customer on the Carefree Register.
Warmzones - We will be building on the success of our existing warmzone partnerships and some of our area based initiatives and will be providing sustained funding for the provision of Benefits Entitlement Advisors to provide income maximisation services and basic fuel debt advice services. Our experience to date has shown that every £1 invested in such services can be expected to return additional income gains of £10 - £20 per annum year on year.
3. Unclaimed Benefits
Source: Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up 2006-07 http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/income_analysis/jun_2008/0607_NSPR.pdf
Taking all five income-related benefits together, there was between £6,180 million and £9,990 million left unclaimed in 2006- 07; this compared to £34,630 million that was claimed and represents take-up by expenditure of between about 78 per cent and 85 per cent.