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Changing energy market must work for consumers

Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the report ‘Future for all’ which is published today by Citizens Advice (England and Wales) which argues that the rapidly-changing energy market across the UK means there is a need for new measures to protect consumers.

CAS Energy spokesperson at CAS Dr Jamie Stewart said,

“We fully support the findings in this report, which highlight the urgent need for consumers across the UK to be protected in an energy market that is gearing up for change. The changes are not in themselves a bad thing, indeed they can offer customer savings and greater efficiency, but it is important that the right protections are in place to help consumers engage confidently with all new products and systems.

“Our own evidence from the Citizens Advice network in Scotland is already showing the highly stressful situations consumers can face when companies are installing new technologies in their homes without suitable protections. We have seen cases where householders have been left with thousands of pounds worth of debt after signing up for products they were told were free.  

“As well as protections to prevent such situations, it’s also really important that an appropriate redress process exists and is easy for people to use. This will ensure that when things do go wrong they can be put right quickly. Such a process will help build confidence in the market and let people see the benefits that new technologies and ways of interacting with the market can bring.

“Our own evidence in Scotland shows that it is often those who need the most support who are least able to access it and are least likely to take money-saving actions like switching supplier. Given the added complexity and high up-front cost of some of the new technologies entering the market it’s important that those already disadvantaged are not left behind. New solutions should prioritise those who are most in need of the advantages that technology and innovation can bring.”

The report is Available on request.