Energy Action Scotland – the national fuel poverty charity – has produced two new short films to support to some member organisations working on the ground to assist households who struggle to afford their fuel bills and to keep warm at home.
In the two-year project called the Warm and Healthy Homes Fund, Energy Action Scotland used £430,000 of funding to support work in three areas of Scotland where there were on-going initiatives to tackle health and fuel poverty in tandem with THAW in Orkney, Tighean Innse Gall in the Western Isles and Glasgow City Council.
Tailored energy advice and advocacy, energy efficiency measures and help in accessing income maximisation, relevant grants and other local support mechanisms were offered.
Further support for people who were experiencing difficulty with keeping warm at home at a price they could afford due to cancer was the result of funding secured by Energy Action Scotland from SSE through the Industry Initiatives strand of the Warm Home Discount obligation.
There are currently around 748,000 households (30.7 per cent) in fuel poverty in Scotland.
Fuel poverty is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home and is defined as needing to pay more than 10 per cent of income on energy costs.
The main causes of fuel poverty are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices and low household income
Meanwhile, the Consumer Futures Unit – the Scottish consumer representative body in the regulated markets of energy, post and water – has warned of the need to ensure the needs of people who suffer from the highest rates of fuel poverty are acknowledged in the government’s emerging Scottish Energy Strategy.
A CFU spokesman said: “Currently those who live off the gas grid and often rely on expensive electric heating suffer from the highest rates of fuel poverty. The transition to low carbon heating systems and a low carbon energy system more widely, must ensure that these households are supported as a priority.
“However, for homes heated with mains gas, low carbon heating is at present more expensive. The final strategy needs to consider alternatives and address this tension.
“Consumers will be especially important in the delivery of low carbon heating in Scotland’s domestic buildings.
“Given the uptake of renewable heating systems in Scotland has been relatively low to date, the affordability and understanding of consumer behaviour in new policies must be carefully considered moving forward.”
The Scottish Consumer Futures Unit also welcomed the inclusion of energy-efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority, but warns it needs greater government support to meet this target.
The spokesman added: “Given the lack of income stream but wider range of public benefits, we would suggest that significantly greater levels of public money will be needed to achieve energy efficiency and low carbon heating aims than are currently available.”