First Minister to convene roundtable on the growing cost emergency.
The First Minister will convene an urgent summit with energy supply companies and consumer groups later this month, to discuss how advice and support for people struggling with energy bills can be improved.
The summit will consider what collective action can be taken by government, energy companies and the third sector to help businesses and consumers access advice, and get support with debt issues.
Scotland’s major energy suppliers including Scottish Power, OVO Energy, Centrica, Octopus and E.ON, as well as industry bodies and key consumer and poverty organisations will attend.
The summit follows last week’s meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee on the cost living crisis and will take place ahead of OfGem’s next energy price cap announcement on 26 August.
First Minister 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.”
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.”
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.”
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 Scottish Government’s Resilience Committee met on Thursday 11 August to discuss the cost emergency and agreed a number of actions.
Householders can access free and impartial support through Home Energy Scotland to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Home Energy Scotland can be contacted on their freephone number 0808 808 2282 or via the Home Energy Scotland website.
The Scottish Government has expanded the capacity of its Home Energy Scotland advice service this year to help an extra 12,000 households a year.
The Scottish Government has allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year that will help households face the increased cost of living. This includes the provision of services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK that is helping to reduce everyday costs and increase incomes.
It also includes £10 million to continue our Fuel Insecurity Fund – to help households at risk of severely rationing their energy use, or self-disconnecting entirely. This includes direct support for households using any tariff or fuel type, and is delivered via trusted third sector partners - the Fuel Bank Foundation, Advice Direct Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.
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