Nicola Sturgeon, is to meet with energy bosses and consumer groups this month to find way in which how advice and support for people struggling with energy bills can be improved.
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I know that this is an incredibly unsettling time for households and energy consumers across Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support those affected.
“There is a not a single solution to this problem and government, industry and the third sector in Scotland needs to work collaboratively together to ensure the right support is in place for householders and businesses during this challenging winter. This could include improving the availability of help and advice and considering a more compassionate approach to debt management.
“However, it remains the case that the powers and resources needed to tackle this emergency on the scale required – access to borrowing, welfare, VAT on fuel, taxation of windfall profits, regulation of the energy market – lie with the UK Government. Only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required. They need to take action, now.
“As I said last week, a first step would be to cancel the energy price cap rise this autumn.”
Those attending the meeting will include: Scottish Power, OVO Energy, Centrica; Octopus; E.ON, other industry bodies; consumer and poverty organisations.
Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance said:
“We are pleased that the First Minister will be convening this summit of energy companies, along with the Poverty Alliance and Energy Action Scotland.
“Across the country, people are increasingly being swept up amid a rising tide of hardship. But with the energy price cap due to increase in October, that tide threatens to become a flood.
“Households up and down Scotland are terrified of what the colder months will bring and the likelihood is that – without further action – lives and life chances will be at risk. The situation could scarcely be more urgent.
“But it is a situation we can do something about, by taking action to protect people most at risk of poverty and deeper hardship. It is that much-needed and urgent action that we are hoping the summit can bring about.”
The Scottish Government estimates that 906,000 or 36% of all households will be in fuel poverty in October 2022, based on an Ofgem price cap of £2,800 and taking into account previously announced government mitigations. The situation will be even worse for the Highlands and Islands, already paying the highest rates to buy back their own energy.
Frazer Scott, CEO of Energy Action Scotland said:
“With our colleagues at the Poverty Alliance, we welcome the First Minister’s intervention in gathering energy companies together to talk about how we can best support households struggling to afford spiralling energy bills.
“Fuel poverty will affect over one million Scottish households this winter requiring urgent intervention focussed on targeting those most in need.
“Cold, damp homes affect health and wellbeing and will put thousands of lives at risk as well as adding additional pressure to the NHS, making this a vital intervention for Scotland.”