Margaret Burgess, Minister for Housing and Welfare, today confirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the target to end fuel poverty by 2016 at Energy Action Scotland’s annual conference in Glasgow.
She said: “It is a scandal that there should be any fuel poverty in a country as energy-rich as Scotland.
“Despite rises in fuel prices we are determined to help householders stay warm and reduce their energy bills and are actively working with councils and energy companies to tackle fuel poverty.
“With the powers of independence this government would tackle fuel poverty head on by reducing energy prices by 5% or around £70 per household and meeting the costs of fuel poverty and energy efficiency schemes through government spending.
“This will allow us to deal with fuel poverty much more directly, delivering Scottish solutions to Scottish problems.”
The two-day conference is entitled ‘Realising an End to Fuel Poverty’ and brings together a range of agencies, charities and companies from across the country who have a common interest in delivering solutions to cold, damp homes.
Fuel poverty is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home, usually defined as having to pay more than 10% of income on energy costs. The main causes are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices and low household income.
Energy Action Scotland estimates there are currently around 900,000 households in Scotland in, or at risk of, fuel poverty.
Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland, said: “There needs to be a significant boost to the take-up of insulation and energy efficient heating systems aimed at the most vulnerable to protect them from falling into fuel poverty and from struggling to pay their home energy bills.”
Neil Clitheroe, Chief Executive, Scottish Power Retail & Generation, added: “Scottish Power welcomes the opportunity to sponsor the conference and we look forward to participating in the conference, and the agenda has a wide range of opportunity for debate and discussion.”
Topics planned for discussion at the conference include the use of new technologies such as micro-renewables for the many hard-to-treat homes that are off the mains gas grid and the current energy market review that aims to simplify pricing and tariffs.