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Energia Group is the first energy company to sign up to Plain Numbers

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Energia and Power NI, part of Energia Group, are the first energy suppliers to become Plain Numbers Partners. Plain Numbers works with leading brands to improve customer understanding by changing the way they present numbers in their customer communications. 

The statistics around numeracy are stark. In Ireland, 1 in 4 adults score below level 1 for numeracy1. In the UK, almost half of working age adults have the numeracy levels of a primary school child, that’s around 20 million people2. Northern Ireland is the second worst performing area of the UK for numeracy skills3. This vulnerability can be a barrier to customer understanding for so many people. Energia Group wants to ensure no customer is left behind because of a lack of understanding, particularly these days when people have a greater interest in understanding their energy bills and energy consumption. The Group is partnering with Plain Numbers to deliver additional clarity to Power NI and Energia customers across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Ensuring communications are accessible is a top priority for the Group, and they have already adopted Plain English principles to assess the readability of their documents. With the Plain Numbers Approach, they will take this a step further by simplifying information relating to customer tariffs and billing. 

The Plain Numbers Approach is an evidence-based approach. Research trials4 across a variety of industries and forms of communication saw that when the Plain Numbers Approach was adopted the number of people who understood customer information doubled.

Key members of the Power NI and Energia Customer Solutions teams have already started the comprehensive Plain Numbers training course. The course brings to life the numerical struggle much of the public must contend with and equips the Practitioners with the tools and strategies that ensure their communications can be sent out in Plain Numbers. The collaborative partnership will see easier to understand communications for customers and aim to empower people to achieve better outcomes.

Mike Ellicock, Chief Exec and Co-Founder of Plain Numbers comments: “Energia Group is setting itself apart as a market leader by being the first energy firm to partner with Plain Numbers. It’s great to see Power NI and Energia making genuine moves to enable their customers to better understand their bill and how it’s calculated. The more informed people there are, the more able they are to make the right choices for their financial situation.” 

Gwyneth Compston, Power NI’s CSR Manager comments: “Energia Group’s partnership with Plain Numbers is just a further example of our ongoing commitment at Power NI to providing the best services for our customers. Plain Numbers is not just an initiative; it’s a commitment from us to make energy bills more easily accessible, enabling our customers to take control of their energy usage and make informed choices.” 

1.    25% or 1 in 4 Irish adults score at or below level 1 for numeracy. At this level a person may struggle with doing simple math calculations. For this survey the Central Statistic Office (CSO) assessed 6,000 people aged 16 – 65 in Ireland. The survey was done in 2012 and the results were announced in 2013. 

2.    2011 skills for life survey: a survey of literacy, numeracy and ICT levels in England. 2012. Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

3.    UK Numeracy Index: the first ever model to predict and rank areas of the UK by numeracy skills and confidence. Produced by National Numeracy and data company Experian. 

4.    Plain Numbers Project: Initial trials report 2021. Plain Numbers tested their Approach with five randomised controlled trials comparing an existing document provided by a Partner firm with a Plain Numbers version. 

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