The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is launching a campaign to help blind and partially sighted people be ‘smart with their money’ and potentially change their energy and broadband providers to less expensive alternatives.
The campaign comes off the back of Ofgem research, which shows that blind and partially sighted people are less likely to have switched energy suppliers in the last 12 months than their sighted peers. Just a third (36%) of blind and partially sighted people investigated switching suppliers in the last year compared to nearly half (49%) of the population.
It is also working with the comparison and switching service, Uswitch, to offer accessible tools for blind and partially sighted customers to review their current deals.
Janette Scott, 61, from Stirling has retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and glaucoma. She’s been with the same energy provider for 20 years, and despite not being happy with her current provider, has been unable to switch. She said: “Being blind, it can feel safer to stick with the deal you have even if it’s not great. When I’ve spoken to others about this, they’ve said exactly the same. Although they feel frustrated and annoyed, they haven’t got the capacity to move to another company.
“I feel frustrated with not being able to access or collect information.”
The charity is launching ‘Smart with your money week’ (between Monday 18 and Sunday 24 January). During this time, the charity will be offering information on consumer rights, grants and discounts that individuals may be eligible for, and advice on how people can save money on their bills and using comparison services.
Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB, said: “The findings from Ofgem show that more needs to be done in empowering blind and partially sighted people to make informed decisions when it comes to their energy bills. This is especially important during a cold winter with all of us spending more time at home, coupled with the higher cost of living with a disability.
“Through working with Uswitch, we aim to create better understanding of the information and resources available to help people make informed decisions on how they spend their money.”