A WIGAN pensioner has criticised a scheme aimed to help residents save on their fuel bills.
Norman Kay, 85, had wanted to sign up to the Energy Switch Campaign, but said he was unable to after the phone number advertised directed him to a website.
Mr Kay, from Worsley Mesnes, said: “I rang the number and it was a recorded message telling me to log on to a website – I don’t have a computer and don’t really want to use one. What is the point of advertising a phone number if it directs you to a website.
“I cannot be the only one having this problem – there will be lots of pensioners in the same boat. I don’t know why I cannot just ring up and sign up immediately.
“It makes me wonder if the council really wants us to sign up or whether they really are just trying to look like they’re doing something for us.”
Last month Wigan Council has announced that along with all 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester, it was supporting the scheme, which has already seen residents in Oldham save hundreds of pounds of their annual electricity bills. Under the scheme, the group then enters a ‘reverse auction’ and gets a cheaper deal together on gas and electricity from energy companies.
Organisers say residents just need to produce a copy of their current energy bill to register an interest before the scheme closes on January 28, and anyone who enters will receive an offer for a new rate which they do not have to accept. The scheme is also open to residents who use pre-payment meters. Although the scheme will be targeted directly at people living in Greater Manchester, it will be open to anyone in the UK to join.
However, Norman and others contacted the Wigan Evening Post after they tried to sign up only to be played a recorded message directing to a website.
Since Norman contacted us, campaign organisers have said that they have rectified the problem and are encouraging people to sign up over the phone.
A spokesperson for the Energy Switch Campaign said: “More than 13,000 people have signed-up to the scheme using our website and phone line.
“We hope many more will too. The phone line is there for those people who cannot access the website.
“If they call the number, they can speak to a fully trained energy advisor who will sign them up while they are on the phone.
“We apologise if people have experienced some problems with the service. We have received a high number of calls and would ask people to be patient.
“But, if they do ring the number, our advisors will complete the form for them and tell them about other energy initiatives they may benefit from.
“In addition, our staff are attending events and signing-up people in person.”
If you want to sign up, visit www.gmfairenergy.com or calling 0800 009 3363.