by Cameron Crome, CPRC Energy Trainer

Everyone could use a little bit more knowledge and understanding when it comes to energy.

I can hear the deep exhales already. But remember, nearly all of us have electricity and perhaps gas coming into our homes, powering our lives and allowing us to get on with the everyday.

Even if we don’t have an energy bill in our name, we’re still likely to be paying towards one on a regular basis. So why not know the basics on how to minimise what we spend on these energy bills? After all, the money is better kept in your pocket.

When Karl Barratt and I started putting the Energy Simplified training program together, one of the bigger challenges was condensing it into three hours. We narrowed it down to four topics: energy concessions, cheaper energy plans, saving energy and payment difficulties. We wanted to take users on a journey to saving money on their energy bills, but there still seemed so much information to cover. What cannot be omitted? What will cause confusion if accompanied by a lengthy explanation or what will cause confusion if not?

As a couple of energy guys who have previously spent days and weeks training people on energy, we realised we had to get the trimming shears out big time.

So trim, discuss, repeat we did.

Ending up with such a clear and succinct training package has taught me a lot about sharing knowledge on energy. Sometimes the strength is indeed in the simplicity.

I’ve been delivering Energy Simplified up to three times per week since July, training 600+ emergency relief workers across more than 30 sessions around Victoria. Emergency relief workers are often on the frontline supporting people struggling with range of challenges from mental health issues, to family breakdown or financial difficulties.

I have lost count of the number of trainees who said they weren’t really looking forward to the training and thinking they would be bored, only to then report they got a lot out of it, finding the information both relevant and valuable.

By breaking the information into easily digestible morsels, we’re overcoming the “oh no, not energy and bills again” hurdle. People are getting it and in turn, able to help themselves and their clients. We’re ensuring people receive all their concessions, are on their retailer’s Best Offer, are not wasting energy while staying comfortable in their home, and are aware of the recent reforms to the Payment Difficulties Framework.

Oh, I almost forgot, they also learn how to read their electricity bill. Yes, I have seen more than just a couple of eyes roll when I mention this is a topic in the training, but just 15 minutes later I can see the relief in many of the faces. It’s a bit like lifting a big dark cloud that has always perplexed people and weighed them down.

Finally, they can translate their energy bill, as though it’s written in their language.

Delivering this training has been so very rewarding as I have seen firsthand the positive impact the learnings have had on both the trainees and their clients. Also, working with the fantastic team at CPRC has ensured that being part of this great program is a joy when I am in the office as well as out training.

And because of the way it is presented in a good old-fashioned face to face format, it doesn’t exclude those that struggle with computers and the interweb.

People aren’t silly, the energy market is confusing. Through Energy Simplified we’ve combined the right information, delivered through the right channel to bring some clarity and understanding of the retail energy market to so many people. Over 600 people so far, let’s hope we can continue sharing the knowledge in 2020.