Fuel Poverty: Scottish Government response to working group reports

The Scottish Government's response to reports by the Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group and the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force.

Chapter 5 - Energy Use: Using heating and energy saving technology

Alongside costs, income and energy performance, both groups highlighted that how people use the energy in their homes has a significant impact on fuel poverty and made a number of recommendations for the Scottish Government, including:

  • The new fuel poverty strategy should acknowledge and address how people use energy in their homes as the fourth driver of fuel poverty;
  • Conduct research to understand the best approaches for support and engagement on the use of heating and energy saving technologies;
  • Support a single contact number for consumers concerned about any aspect of delivery of energy efficiency measures in their homes provided by the public sector or through energy suppliers obligated by the public sector;
  • Contract Home Energy Scotland to further develop its existing third-party portal service to ensure that it delivers to all rural and remote areas; and
  • Commission a comprehensive 'Energycarer' pilot to assess the effectiveness of high quality, in-home, locally delivered, holistic support.

This Chapter addresses the following recommendations:

Strategic Working Group Recommended Actions

SWG 33 SWG 34 SWG 35 SWG 36 SWG 40 SWG 49

Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force Recommended Actions

TF 31 TF 32 TF 33 TF 34 TF 36 TF 41 TF 45

*please refer to Annex A of this report for full details of each recommended action

What the working groups said

The Strategic Working Group set out its views that how people use energy in their homes should be seen as a fourth driver of fuel poverty and considered in the development of a new long-term strategy. The Strategic Working Group recommended that the new fuel poverty strategy should have household energy needs and how people use fuel at its centre, i.e. a person-centred rather than property-centred approach.

Both groups stressed the importance of addressing energy use in order to effectively tackle fuel poverty. The Strategic Working Group recommended that further research is commissioned on energy use, including what kind of advice and support is required, to inform the forthcoming fuel poverty strategy.

The Strategic Working Group highlighted its support for the existing one stop shop approach to energy advice available through Home Energy Scotland, but asked the Scottish Government to build on this by expanding what is offered to consumers and partners. The Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force specifically recommended a pilot ('Energycarer') to test the effectiveness of home delivered advice and support to those who need it. Both groups recommended that support should be provided by Home Energy Scotland in collaboration with local and national partners to ensure the needs of each household is met.

The Task Force indicated that this could be facilitated by the further roll out of the Home Energy Scotland referral portal, in particular to NHS partners. The Task Force also suggested there should be further links between the portal and Priority Services Registers and recommended further work with Ofgem to make this more effective.

Both groups recommended further data sharing and a more joined-up approach between programmes and partners, specifically around HEEPS, to ensure that the appropriate support is provided to the householder both before and after installation of energy efficiency measures. This will help people to better understand what new measures will be installed and how to use them, thereby avoiding examples of fuel bills increasing because households don't understand how to use, for example, their new heating system. The Task Force also recommended further sharing of the advice and support mapping undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust.

What the Scottish Government is doing

The Scottish Government agrees that how people use the energy in their homes is key to ensuring everyone lives in a warm, energy efficient home. Helping people to understand their energy consumption, and providing advice on how to reduce it, will form a significant part of SEEP.

We are already funding Home Energy Scotland, a one stop shop to provide energy advice, and we review this service annually to ensure it is fit for purpose and delivering on the Scottish Government's priorities. This includes sharing information with partners and putting in place the necessary data sharing agreements to ensure those who need help get the most appropriate support.

Work to design SEEP includes looking at how people use their energy, and new tools will be developed to help review and monitor energy consumption. As highlighted in Chapter 3, we will look to use the rollout of smart meters as an opportunity to help people better understand how energy is used in their home and encourage energy efficient behaviour. The data we gather from this work will feed into future advice and support provision as the programme develops. Encouraging and supporting people to use their homes more efficiently cannot be achieved overnight. SEEP is a 15 to 20 year programme and this is likely to be a commitment which will be met in the medium term.

Vulnerable householders will need additional support to that offered through the telephone hotline. HES currently offers home visits to vulnerable householders, and the Scottish Government has been considering how this work could be expanded. To this end, we are launching ' HES Homecare', a SEEP pilot based on the Task Force's recommendation for an Energycarer pilot. This will be delivered by HES and will be reviewed after one year.

As set out in Chapter 2, frontline workers in communities, who can readily identify householders who would benefit from help, will require continued support for the development of new skills and training. Home Energy Scotland is already undertaking outreach work, providing free training to local partners and raising awareness of the service available. This outreach will increase the provision of advice and support in our communities and enhance the partnership approach to delivering support where it's needed most.

SEEP will also include the provision of advice to users on how best to use the measures installed - keeping people and their needs at the centre of efforts to tackle fuel poverty.


The Scottish Government is committed to the following actions:

  • We will ensure that the new fuel poverty strategy, considers which drivers are most relevant to different households to ensure everyone lives in a warm, energy efficient home;
  • We will consider, through SEEP, how to best provide advice and support on energy consumption and energy use in the home and the development of tools to review and monitor energy use;
  • We will continue to undertake ongoing monitoring and refocusing of the activities of Home Energy Scotland on an annual basis;
  • We will launch a HES Homecare pilot in February 2017 for a one year period to assess the benefits - and costs - of providing an area-based, home-delivered outreach service for vulnerable households; and
  • We will ensure that the Home Energy Scotland fuel poverty awareness training is delivered to partners as required and will continue to develop the HES referral portal to increase the number of users.


Email: Central Enquiry Unit

Back to top