Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is encouraging people to seek advice on energy issues, with over half a million homes in Scotland in fuel poverty.
New figures published by the Scottish Government show that in 2018 a quarter of households in Scotland were in fuel poverty at around 619,000 while one in ten were in extreme fuel poverty at 279,000.
CAS is calling on the Scottish Government to double energy efficiency spending in the upcoming budget to help tackle the problem.
The charity is currently running Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign to help people save money on their energy bills, and is calling on the Scottish Government to double the funding available to help make Scottish homes more energy efficient.
Reacting to the figures, CAS Fair Markets spokesperson, Dr Jamie Stewart, said:
“These figures are a sorry state of affairs for Scotland. Over 600,000 homes in fuel poverty, and 279,000 in extreme fuel poverty shows the staggering scale of this problem.
“Every year the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps tens of thousands of people with energy-related issues with many of them dealing with unaffordable energy costs coupled with living in homes which are hard to heat.
“The first step in tackling fuel poverty must be to help those struggling to keep their homes warm. That’s why in the upcoming Scottish budget we want the Scottish Government to commit to doubling spending on energy efficiency.
“These figures also highlight the importance of Big Energy Saving Week which we are running this week.
“Last year, the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helped people who came to us with energy-related issues save on average £232 per case. That’s a huge amount for someone living in fuel poverty.
“So if you are struggling with your energy bills, visit your local bureau where you can get specialist advice on how you can save money.”
Earlier this year CAS called on the Scottish Government to double funding to its Energy Efficient Scotland programme to at least £256 million a year or 0.3% of Scottish public sector expenditure.
Despite energy efficiency being designated as a National Infrastructure Priority four years ago, the amount of central funding available has remained the same.
Big Energy Saving Week launched yesterday (Monday 20 January 2020) and is being led in Scotland by Citizens Advice Scotland in partnership with Home Energy Scotland.
In 2018-19 the Citizens Advice network in Scotland gave over 37,000 pieces of advice on energy-related issues alone and helped people who came to the network for support make an average saving of £232 per case.