In May 2019, The Scottish Government committed to establishing an independent Energy Consumers Commission (ECC) to enhance the voice of consumers who reside in Scotland within the energy market.
In Spring 2020, following an extended period of consultation with key stakeholders throughout the energy industry (and including the majority of the commission members), a draft remit was produced for the commission. This was approved by both the chair and the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands and has now been ratified by commission members.
The commission was formed in July 2020 consisting of representatives with a wealth of experience in national consumer advocacy and advice bodies, academia and local groups serving energy consumers in their communities.
This work plan sets out what the ECC will aim to achieve over a 12 month period. We intend to review progress and priorities at the end of the financial year to ensure relevance.
This work plan consists of a number of areas of activity. These include:
- Selected opportunities for the commission to engage in focused advocacy over the coming year on a number of key themes across a whole system focus.
- Plans to support and engage with grassroots organisations.
- Specific projects to be taken forward using funding from the energy advocacy levy.
The energy advocacy levy is paid by the energy industry to support advocacy on behalf of energy consumers. As part of a transition process to Consumer Scotland, the ECC will direct £170,000 worth of funding for work that will be delivered in the 2020/2021 financial year. Whilst the energy advocacy levy will fund the research/ campaigns work of the commission, Scottish Government funding will be used for other costs of the ECC ahead of its transition to Consumer Scotland.
2.1 Consumer Scotland
The Consumer Scotland Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 5 June 2019 and passed stage 3 in the Scottish Parliament on 6 May 2020. The Bill establishes a new public body – Consumer Scotland – to represent the views of consumers and take an evidence-based approach to tackling the most serious issues of consumer harm in Scotland.
The Scottish Government is working to establish Consumer Scotland in Autumn 2021. This organisation will direct the spend of consumer advocacy funding in Scotland raised through levies on consumer bills in the energy, water and post sectors.
The ECC will be incorporated into Consumer Scotland following its establishment, forming an experienced and wide ranging resource to lead on energy related work and input to relevant cross-sector projects. This process will provide an opportunity to re-assess the role and remit of the Commission following its first year and to further refine these as required.