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New data shows huge differences across Scotland in energy switching rates

21 Jan 2019

East Renfrewshire has been revealed as the local authority area in Scotland where people are most likely to switch energy supplier, according to new research.

The figures have been released by Citizens Advice Scotland to mark the beginning of Big Energy Saving Week 2019. 

The data reveals that more than one in five households (22.4%) in East Renfrewshire switched supplier in 2018.

Despite the introduction of a price cap on energy bills at the start of the year, additional analysis shows that people could still save more than £150 by switching their supplier or tariff.

Emma Grant McColm, Energy Policy Manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, said that consumers can save money by switching. She said

“The figures show that there is huge variation across Scotland in rates of switching energy supplier. Big Energy Saving Week aims to tackle fuel poverty by raising awareness of ways that consumers can keep their energy bills down and helping them to find better deals, discounts, grants and help.

“We know there are still large numbers of people paying over the odds on their energy bills. Although the energy market is changing because of the introduction of the price cap, there are still substantial savings to be made.”

The top five areas in Scotland for switching energy supplier during 2018 are East Renfrewshire (22.4%), Midlothian (21.3%), Fife (21.1% ),  East Dunbartonshire  ( 21.1% ) and Clackmannanshire (20.9%).

The research also shows the local authority areas in Scotland where households are least likely to switch. These are the Shetland Islands (9.9%), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (14%), Highland (14.7%), Argyll & Bute (14.8%) and Orkney Islands (14.9%).

There are a number of reasons why switching rates have been lower in rural and island areas. In the past, households with restricted meters and electric heating had a limited choice of tariffs. Although electric heating remains an expensive option, today more tariffs should be available to these households which could help them save on their bills.

Emma Grant McColm added:

“We know that many of our clients in Scotland are struggling to pay their energy bills. In 2017/18, the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland dealt with 38,000 energy cases. In 2017, 24.9% of households across Scotland were estimated to be in fuel poverty – heating or eating is a real choice for many people and we would urge anyone struggling with their energy bills to get in touch with their local Bureau.”

Big Energy Saving Week begins today, and is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice Scotland, Home Energy Scotland, Citizens Advice and the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help people cut their energy bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to. A number of Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland have special events taking place throughout the week.

Harry Mayers, Head of Home Energy Scotland, said: “Home Energy Scotland works all year round to help Scottish households reduce their energy bills and heat their homes efficiently, and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland. By supporting Big Energy Saving Week this highlights the range of support available to households across Scotland.”

UK Government Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “This Big Energy Saving Week is the perfect opportunity to check your bills, and use the price comparison tool to see if you can get a better deal, switch suppliers and save money. And of course, even if you don’t switch, you will now be protected from rip-off tariffs thanks to this Government’s energy price cap.

“This week will also highlight where consumers can get advice and help if they need it through their local Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland.”

Big Energy Saving Week is all about making sure consumers can save money and energy if they check – switch – save.

Check - Make sure you aren’t paying too much or missing out on any benefits, grants or support that could boost your income and lower costs. Call your supplier or visit your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.

Switch - You could save hundreds of pounds by switching energy tariff or supplier. Visit https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk/ to compare prices or go to a Big Energy Saving Week event near you.

Save - Make your home energy efficient and cut your bills by hundreds of pounds. Don’t leave appliances on standby, always turn off the light when you leave a room, and ask your supplier about help to pay for insulation or a boiler upgrade.


Ends

Notes to Editors

1. Big Energy Saving Week (January 21-27 2019) is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice Scotland, Home Energy Scotland, Citizens Advice and The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help people cut their energy bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to. There are a number of events taking place across Scotland this week.

2. Local switching data has been provided by Electralink, the UK’s regulated energy data hub. The figures refer to the number and proportion of electricity meter points in an area that switched in 2018. Electricity meter points have been used as a proxy for households alongside household data from the 2011 Scottish census.

3. £150 figure based on analysis conducted by Citizens Advice (16 January 2019) using Energylinx data. The analysis modelled the price of a capped default tariff against the lowest tariff on the market for a typical credit meter consumer averaged across all regions.

Table: Scottish households who have switched supplier during 2018  (source: Electralink) 

Local authority % of households who have switched Number of households who have switched
East Renfrewshire            22.4 8,353
Midlothian 21.3 7,455
Fife 21.1 33,933
East Dunbartonshire 21.1 9,158
Clackmannanshire 20.9 4,749
East Ayrshire 20.3 10,957
City of Edinburgh 20.2 45,003
Falkirk 20.2 13,863
Stirling 20.0 7,531
South Ayrshire 19.9 10,182
Aberdeen City 19.8 20,505
Scottish Borders 19.7 10,324
East Lothian 19.6 8,397
South Lanarkshire 19.4 27,027
West Lothian 19.4 14,251
North Lanarkshire 19.3 28,110
Renfrewshire 18.4 14,849
North Ayrshire 17.9 11,198
Moray 17.7 7,078
Glasgow City 17.6 50,145
West Dunbartonshire 17.5 7,399
Aberdeenshire 17.5 18,290
Dumfries & Galloway 17.1 11,656
Angus 16.8 8,688
Dundee City 16.5 11,407
Perth and Kinross 16.2 10,518
Inverclyde 15.7 5,895
Orkney Islands 14.9 1,450
Argyll and Bute 14.8 5,923
Highland 14.7 15,010
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
(Western Isles)
14.0 1,760
Shetland Islands 9.9 982
Scotland 18.6 442,046
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