Citizens Advice Scotland calls for £500 cooncil tax rebate to boost energy-efficiency and cut fuel-poverty

The national consumer advice group Citizens Advice Scotland wants people who make their homes more energy-efficient to get a council tax rebate.

The call is made in a new report published today which aims to ensure that people across Scotland play their part in the new Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme which is being developed by Scot-Govt. 

The report points out that the success of SEEP will depend on people taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and recommends that they should be given meaningful incentives to do so.  

Kate Morrison, Energy manager of the Consumer Futures Unit at CAS, said: “We support SEEP and are keen to make sure that it helps people across Scotland to take action to make their homes more energy efficient. That’s why we have undertaken new consumer research to ensure SEEP is designed around the way people will interact with it.

“If the ultimate objective of SEEP is to upgrade all homes to a Band-C energy rating, around one million owner-occupiers in Scotland will need to upgrade their homes.

“The Scot-Govt. therefore needs to persuade people of the benefits of installing energy efficiency measures and to design a scheme that makes it easy for them to take action, and incentivises them to do so.

“Our research suggests the most popular incentive for householders would be a prompt £500 council tax rebate the year after upgrading their properties.

“This would be a national policy so it would entail government providing support to local authorities to enable them to make these rebates available.”

Meanwhile OFGEM has said that energy providers must do more to help those in debt, as its latest annual report shows customers accrue more than £600 in unpaid bills before paying money back.

Consumers now owe on average £628 before they start paying back debt on their electricity accounts, a 7% increase from last year. Gas customers owe on average £622, a 5% increase from last year.

An OFGEM spokesman explained: “Under our new rules, suppliers must identify vulnerable consumers and show they’ve taken extra action to treat them fairly.

“Meanwhile we’re introducing a safeguard tariff this winter which will save one million vulnerable customers £120 on average.”

17 Oct 2017

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