Research finds three-quarters of people use more energy due to disability


Research published by RiDC (Research Institute for Disabled Consumers) has found that three-quarters of people use additional energy because of their disability, primarily for heating and washing.

Almost two-thirds (63.3%) said they had higher energy bills and more than half (54.3%) said they experienced financial difficulty as a result.

Gordon McCullough, CEO at RiDC, said: “This project suggests there is a significant need among disabled and older people to find the best energy deals as so many of them struggle to pay their bills.   

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“However, not all sites contain all the information or features that are needed. For example, the Warm Home Discount could be hugely beneficial to many people but half of the sites don’t include this in the filter options when users are doing a search.  

“Energy comparison and switching websites can and should do a lot better in making sure disabled and older people can access the information they need.” 

The completed guide outlines the key accessibility and other important website features to look out for. It also lists the 16 most popular sites identified by respondents and tells us on which of these you can expect to see these key features.  

Accessibility features identified include: support for screen-readers, good colour contrast, plain and understandable language and clear instructions and support among others. Other features include if the website was Ofgem accredited, had a helpline service, if it required an email address to view quotes or included an accessibility statement.  

It is hoped that the research will not only support disabled and older people to identify sites that are accessible to them and make informed decisions about their energy provider, but also encourage the energy sector to do more to meet the needs of these customers.  

You can access the guide and see the research results on the RiDC website:

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Lee Peart

The author Lee Peart

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