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'Satisfaction gap' between electricity and gas exposed

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has today warned that the move away from fossil fuels being used to heat homes will be hampered without significant improvements to electric heating options.

A report commissioned by the charity on consumer attitudes to energy networks in Scotland has found that only half (55 per cent) of households off the gas grid are satisfied with their heating systems.

This compares with 84 per cent of households who have a mains gas connection.  

The study also found that 85 per cent of households with mains gas central heating are fairly or extremely satisfied with their heating system, compared to just 42 per cent for those with electric storage heating, a ‘satisfaction gap’ of 43 per cent.

CAS has released the figures as both the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as increasing numbers of big businesses, commit to reducing emissions.

CAS backs bold targets on emissions but, as Scotland’s consumer champion, is calling for honesty from policy makers about the impact this will have on people –especially if the electrification of heat is proposed as a route to decarbonisation.

Citizens Advice Scotland Fair Markets spokesperson, Dr Jamie Stewart, said:

“The issue of the climate emergency has made it to the top of the political agenda and that’s a welcome step forward but policy makers need to be honest about the challenges this represents.

“The electrification of heat is being proposed by many as a key step in the move away from using dirtier fossil fuels to keep our homes warm.

“And while the idea is sound, this research highlights the dissatisfaction many electric-only households currently have with their heating systems. That needs to change if we are to see more homes heated with electricity.

“As conversations on decarbonising energy use begins in the corridors of government, politicians and civil servants must take into consideration consumer satisfaction when creating energy policy.

“They must acknowledge that people will not switch from gas to electricity without reduced costs and substantial improvements to electric heating options.”