In May 2019, The Scottish Government committed to establishing an independent Energy Consumers Commission (ECC) to enhance the voice of consumers who reside in Scotland within the energy market. The Commission was formed in July 2020 consisting of representatives with a wealth of experience in national consumer advocacy and advice bodies, academia and local groups serving energy consumers in their communities.
The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a record held by energy suppliers and network operators which enables them to provide additional support services to consumers in vulnerable situations.
Ofgem practices principles-based regulation in relation to vulnerability, and although suppliers and network operators broadly determine who can benefit from their PSRs, a level of consistency is ensured across the industry by a common framework of needs codes and vulnerability flags.
Previous research has found that the strength and depth of priority services, and those they seek to support, varies both between different PSR holders, and across different parts of Great Britain.
This briefing, based on research commissioned from Changeworks, examines how experiences of the PSR vary in Scotland in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the early stages of the transition to low carbon heating and electric vehicles. It also summarises the Commission’s recommendations on how the services offered and/or the range of vulnerabilities provided for under PSRs and other energy industry vulnerability initiatives can be improved.