The Citizens Advice Service in Scotland has grown to meet a rising consumer demand for energy advice. Since 2011, our energy advice provision has increased by 130%. In 2014/15 alone we provided advice and support on 28,000 energy issues experienced by consumers throughout Scotland.
Our case evidence highlights a series of financial pressures that faced households across Scotland since 2013. Some of the key issues that affected consumers’ ability to heat their homes included; low pay, underemployment, increased living costs and rising debt, in addition to the impact of austerity policies such as below-inflation social security payments, social security cuts and the under-occupancy charge. Further pressures arose from social security administration issues such as increased sanctions and long waits for assessments. The impact of changes made to some suppliers billing systems were also a key problem.