Citizens Advice Scotland is today urging the Competition and Markets Authority to take firm action to protect energy customers in Scotland.
CAS will make the call while giving evidence this afternoon to the CMA in London on the plight of Scottish energy consumers. The charity says a higher proportion of Scots use pre-payment meters and electric heating compared with the rest of Britain, and so need more support.
Ahead of her presentation, CAS consumer spokesperson Sarah Beattie-Smith says,
“With almost 40% of Scots in fuel poverty and nearly 1 in 5 people reliant on expensive prepayment meters for their energy, it’s vital that the CMA investigation is bold in its recommendations for change in the energy market.
"The evidence shows that Scottish consumers are suffering more than people elsewhere in the UK, and we need an energy market that works for us in Scotland.
“Consumers with prepayment meters and electric only heating often find themselves unable to switch energy tariff or supplier, meaning they’re stuck paying way over the odds. People on the lowest incomes are therefore struggling to stay warm in some of the coldest parts of the UK. We need to see much greater support for these consumers to help them switch, save and to stay warm for less.”
The CAS meeting with CMA takes place in London at 4pm.
For more information, interviews etc please contact Tony Hutson on 07774 751655.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- The Competition and Markets Authority is conducting an investigation into the GB Energy Market to assess how the market is working for consumers. In July they published their provisional findings and proposed remedies. Today they are taking evidence from consumer groups on these remedies.
- The report found that consumers in Scotland are less likely to switch than the GB average, with 29% of Scottish consumers having been with their supplier for more than 10 years compared with 21% in England. It also found that 65% of consumers in Scotland are with an incumbent supplier, compared with 53% in England.
- The report finds that in the North of Scotland, the electricity incumbent has more than 50% of the market share, making it one of only two regions of great Britain where this is the case (the other being South Wales).
- It is estimated that around 350,000 consumers in Scotland have Dynamic Teleswitched (DTS) meters, accounting for almost 19% of all DTS customers in Great Britain.
- In the North of Scotland the incumbent (SSE) accounts for 93% of all DTS customers. Due to the complexity of the meters and the limited number of suppliers operating these meters, consumers are often unable to switch without great expense.
- Around 20% of electricity customers and 17% of gas customers in Scotland have a prepayment meter compared with around 15% and 13% respectively across Great Britain.
- The CMA’s own estimates indicating that most customers on non-fixed tariffs could have made significant savings (between £158 and £234) over recent years by switching. Previous analysis from Ofgem indicates that poorer consumers could be losing out the most, with the numbers who claim not to have ever switched 10% higher than average in the most disadvantaged social groups.
- Citizens Advice research found that the difference in price between fixed term Direct Debit and prepayment meter (PPM) tariffs increased markedly in the first six months of 2015. This increase was most severe in Scotland, with PPM customers paying around £138 a year more for their energy than those on the cheapest deal. The report can be found here:https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/prepay-energy-customers-paying-226-a-year-more/