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A third of Britons don’t speak to their elderly relatives in a typical week as over one in five admit to seeing them less, new poll reveals

By EDF | Posted January 10, 2013

TV judge Len Goodman spearheads EDF Energy campaign to encourage family members to take advantage of the help on offer for elderly people this winter

A third of Britons admit to not usually speaking to their elderly relatives on a weekly basis, even though just over a fifth of people are now seeing older members of their family less compared to five years ago, a new poll commissioned by EDF Energy has revealed.*


The YouGov poll found only 4% of people spoke to elderly relatives seven to 10 times a week, whilst just over one in five (21%) admitted seeing elderly relatives less than they did five years ago. They blamed work commitments, living further away and advances in technology which mean it’s easier to stay in touch via phone or computer.*


The findings come as EDF Energy launches its Safe, Warm and Well campaign with Len Goodman, which is encouraging people to ensure their elderly relatives are taking advantage of all the financial help and practical support available this winter – even if they struggle to see them on a regular basis.


Some of the simple steps people can take on behalf of elderly relatives include:


- Checking to see if they might be entitled to a free boiler repair or replacement, free loft and cavity insulation through the EDF Energy Affordable Warmth Programme. This could help to bring down their energy bills.


- Check that they’re on the cheapest tariff and payment method to suit their needs. Older people are often the most reluctant to switch supplier which is why last year, it became the first energy and only supplier to ensure EDF Energy’s most vulnerable elderly customers automatically benefited from its cheapest tariff price. 120,000 customers have already benefited from this.


- Checking relatives are not missing out on benefits which could help them pay their energy bills. Up to £5.5 billion** of Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax Benefit is being left unclaimed each year by pensioners. It’s easy for pensioners to find out if they are eligible by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.


Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “We all know there are time pressures which can take over, whether it is work commitments or just the pure distance, but we mustn’t forget our elderly relatives this winter.


“It’s important that we share the correct information to ensure they’re making the right decisions when it comes to heating their homes. EDF Energy’s Safe, Warm and Well campaign aims to make those living in difficult financial situations aware of practical help available. It’s all about highlighting the simple changes they can make around the home to stay warm and cut back on their household energy costs.”

Nearly a half (46%) of people who admitted seeing elderly relatives less than they did five years ago said it was because they were now living further away, almost a third (32%) said it was down to increased work commitments, and two fifths (40%) said it was due to having less time. Over one in ten (12%) meanwhile said technology – such as Skype and webcams – meant it was easier to stay in touch via phone or computer.

Jo Steven, Energy Policy Manager at EDF Energy, said: “It’s more important through the winter months that elderly relatives are fully aware of the help and support available to them, including the benefits of initiatives like the Affordable Warmth Scheme. That’s why the annual Safe, Warm and Well campaign was established; to ensure that the most vulnerable are looked after during the coldest months.


“We want to ensure that people have the correct information and are clued up when it comes to the benefits and energy tariffs that are available for our vulnerable customers and are sharing these updates with friends and family, including information on our new Vulnerable Customer Commitment pledge.”


Visit our Priority Services pages for more information. 

People can also call 0800 068 8251



Notes to editors


For more information, please contact:


Weber Shandwick EDF Energy


Sally Phillips Phillippa Burgess


Ph: +44 (0) 207 067 0258 Ph: +44 020 7752 2266 e-mail:


Further information about the survey results


*YouGov Plc. interviewed a sample of 2,025 adults about their relationships with their elderly relatives. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th-17th December 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


**Age UK – 5th October 2012 Age UK


Further information about how much customers benefiting from EDF Energy’s Vulnerable Customers Commitment are better off:




* Saving will vary by fuel, consumption, payment method, region, meter and current tariff. The £140 average is based on the customer group identified to date calculated at Ofgem typical consumption. A table of estimated customer savings is shown below:



2013 Saving vs. Standard VariableStandard ElectricityEconomy 7 ElectricityDual Fuel
Customer paying by:Credit / PrepaymentDirect DebitCredit / PrepaymentDirect DebitCredit / PrepaymentDirect Debit
DD matching£33n/a£38n/a£80n/a
Price match to cheapest£89£89£95£95£196£196
Total expected saving in 2013£122£89£133£95£276£196

NB: Savings calculated at Ofgem typical consumption, defined as 3,300kWh Standard electricity, 5,000kWh Economy 7 electricity with 55% consumed at night, 16,500kWh Standard gas.


** Value of rebate will vary by fuel, payment method, region, meter and current tariff and has been calculated based on average consumption for this customer group. The maximum rebate will be £125 for a customer on Price Protection 2014 tariff, paying by cash cheque, in South Scotland.


Eligible customers who pay via cash, cheque or prepayment meter will also receive the same 6% discount on their bills this year as customers paying by monthly direct debit. EDF Energy is the first and only energy supplier in Britain to ensure its most vulnerable customers are able to benefit from its cheapest prices.

Under the scheme, the beneficiaries – all of whom have been identified by the Department of Work and Pensions as being pensioners already in receipt of the £130 a year Warm Home Discount – will see their prices matched to the company’s Blue +Price Promise September 2013 fixed tariff. Blue +Price Promise September 2013 was the cheapest tariff offered by the company following the launch of its pledge as part of its Customer Commitments on fair value, simplicity and better service.


In addition, this winter all EDF Energy’s customers will receive a new annual statement providing details of the cheapest tariff on offer. The statement will also confirm details of the customer’s current tariff, other tariff options and savings which could be made, for example by paying via direct debit.