Coronavirus: information and updates

Extra costs

The quick read

  • 6,610 visits to our energy advice pages on our website between January and March 2021.
  • 112 people received support from our dedicated Disability Energy Support helpline which launched in February 2021. All of them reported improved wellbeing afterwards.
  • We launched the Scope Utilities Membership, working with suppliers and network companies to reduce extra costs and improve services for disabled people.
  • We published research to better understand disabled people’s energy needs and shared this with more than 100 industry representatives.

Disability price tag

Disabled people face a price tag of £583 a month (The disability price tag, Scope 2019).

These are costs that non-disabled people don’t experience – they represent an unfair financial penalty for disabled people.

We’re working with businesses to tackle this ‘disability price tag’. Together we’re making sure disabled people don’t have to pay a higher price for non-specialist goods or services, like insurance. We also want to find ways to reduce costs for services they may need to use more of, like gas and electricity.

A fairer energy market

We know many disabled people need to use more energy, for example to power their assistive technology, which means higher bills. During the pandemic, this has been made worse as people have had to shield and stay at home.

It’s one of the reasons why we partner with utility suppliers and network companies, through our Scope Utilities Membership. We collaborate with suppliers and network companies, like SGN and UK Power Networks, to help them reduce extra costs and improve services for disabled people. This includes raising awareness of the issues disabled people face across the sector.

During the pandemic, we carried out research to better understand disabled people’s energy needs. We shared our findings at a webinar with more than 100 industry representatives. We invited experts to discuss how important it is to work in partnership to provide wider support for disabled people and their families. As a result, we are now working with more energy companies to take action, reduce extra costs, improve accessibility, and develop support services for disabled people.

We also launched our own dedicated Disability Energy Support helpline in February 2021. So far, we’ve given tailored advice to 112 people. Everyone who spoke to us said their wellbeing improved afterwards. And 89% said they had better knowledge of energy. We also created advice pages about energy on our website, which were viewed 6,610 times between January and the end of March.

Working with Scope has really helped our call centre staff feel more confident in being able to support disabled customers. The training Scope delivered has been well received, with our employees asking for additional sessions, which is a fantastic reflection on the quality, engagement and learnings of the programme.

Michael Horwood, Stakeholder Engagement and Public Affairs Manager at UK Power Networks and Get Inclusive customer
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