You are here

Publications

  1. Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    November 2019

    In June 2018 the energy regulator, Ofgem, consulted on proposals to introduce a series of new Guaranteed Standards of Performance on all domestic gas and electricity suppliers in GB. These were to place a service level requirement on suppliers to provide consumers with an automatic and pre-defined level of compensation when problems with switching supplier occur. Following feedback from the energy industry and its stakeholders, the first 3 of these new Guaranteed Standards of Performance for Switching were introduced on 1 May 2019.

    Following further work in this area, in September 2019 Ofgem consulted on the introduction of a second phase of the Guaranteed Standards of Performance for Switching. These would provide an automatic and pre-defined level of compensation to consumers where a change of supplier takes longer than 21 calendar days to complete; where a Final Bill is not issued by the losing supplier within 6 weeks of a switch; and where a consumer is erroneously transferred to a new supplier.

    CAS supports Ofgem’s objectives in its proposals to introduce additional Guaranteed Standards of Performance for Switching. However, in our response to this consultation we detail concerns with some of the proposals as they currently stand.

    Spotlight:
  2. Andrew Scobie
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    Andrew Scobie of Perth CAB has carried out a qualitative study to explore how third parties, specifically creditors and health professionals, are responding to the needs and circumstances of indebted citizens with mental health issues.

    Spotlight:
  3. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans and Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the inquiry. In 2018-19, Scotland’s CAB network provided advice on 311,714 issues related to benefits, representing 44% of all advice given in that year. To further inform our submission, CAS surveyed 65 CAB advisers, representing a wide range of geographical areas, to gain their insight into issues surrounding benefit uptake.

  4. A snapshot of citizens advice bureaux clients
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    Our 7th edition in the 'Who Are You?' series describes those coming to citizens advice bureaux in Scotland for advice during November 2018.  

  5. Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    Prices changes during the next regulatory period 2021 – 2027 may have a bearing on paying customers, particularly those on low income. CAS recently conducted research using Fraser of Allander Institute to understand how potential price change scenarios may affect aspects of affordability. Research sought to identify what proportion of Scottish households would be likely to spend more than 3% of income on water and sewerage under four charge scenarios between 2021/22 and 2027/28 (2%, 2.5%, 3% and 3.5%).

    Spotlight:
  6. Jemiel Benison and Mike Holmyard
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the Insolvency Service's call for evidence on Insolvency Practitioner regulation.

    Spotlight:
  7. Mike Holmyard
    Publication date:
    October 2019

    CAS welcomes the FCA's commitment to vulnerable consumers and the guidance they have published to help firms understand their obligations. 

    Spotlight:
  8. Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    The Capacity Market arose from the UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform in 2014 and is designed to provide assurance that electricity supply can continue to meet demand where, for example, demand peaks coincide with periods of reduced renewable electricity generation.

    After being selected on price through a reverse auction process, Capacity Market participants undertake to reduce stress on the electricity system, either by bringing additional generating plant online or by deploying technologies that reduce electricity demand.

    To date, the Capacity Market auctions have favoured the provision of additional generating capacity, but this has often been reliant on relatively carbon-intensive forms of electricity generation which run counter to the Government’s ambitions on climate change. In July 2019, BEIS therefore consulted the energy industry and its stakeholders on how it might create new markets for energy efficiency in the electricity system such that it could become a viable alternative to the provision of additional generating capacity or electricity network reinforcement as a means of meeting peak demand.

    In our response to this consultation, CAS observes that:

    • The Capacity Market may yet prove not be an appropriate route by which to encourage investment in energy efficiency in the electricity market. However, the results of the Electricity Demand Reduction pilot do not definitively show that that energy efficiency is unable to compete in a Capacity Market, and more evidence is therefore needed before firm conclusions can be made.
    • The design of Capacity Market should be revised to allow the whole system costs and benefits of a given intervention to be considered when assessing the value of competing bids. This would help to address the competitive disadvantage that electricity demand reduction technologies such as demand side response, flexibility services and energy efficiency face in the Capacity Market, where the carbon intensity of a given intervention is currently not considered.
    • Reform of the Capacity Market should seek to take a whole system view of the whole life costs of a given intervention, where competing technologies such as energy efficiency and storage or flexibility services are also seen as complementary to one another.
    • The Energy Efficient Scotland program and the development of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies presents a sizeable opportunity to leverage Capacity Market funding for energy efficiency as a form of electricity demand reduction.
    Spotlight:
  9. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    This is CAS’s response to the Call for Evidence on the Annual Energy Statement. We believe that while Scotland is likely to miss its target of achieving 11% of heat demand coming from renewables by 2020, there are actions the Scottish Government can take to ensure that it remains on course for achieving net zero by 2045, including;

    ›     Boosting public buy-in by stepping up practical and financial support for consumers

    ›     Driving technological innovation

    ›     Reducing the cost of renewables 

    These measures will help to address what CAS believes are the key risks and threats to achieving the 2045 target:

    ›     the initial cost of moving to renewable heat sources

    ›     the lack of public awareness and buy-in to the scale of the change needed

    ›     the quality of installations and access to redress when things go wrong

    ›     the lack of advice and guidance on how to properly use low carbon heating systems to best effect

    Spotlight:
  10. CAS Research Team
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    Statistical briefing on advice given; client demographics based on an annual survey of CAB clients undertake for 4 weeks in November 2018 including comparison to SIMD data.

  11. CAS Research Team
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    Briefing on paid staff and volunteers; types of services provided to compliment the generalist service; client gains; how clients contacted CAB and the work undertaken by CAB in addition to giving advice.

  12. Michael O'Brien
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    CAS welcomes Ofgem’s proposals to improve outcomes for consumers who experience self-disconnection and self-rationing. We have identified a number of priorities:

    • The standardisation of friendly credit dates and hours, where technically feasible
    • Improvements to emergency credit provision, which maintains flexibility, but allows for the maintenance of supply in a reasonable worst case scenario
    • The removal of barriers to discretionary credit, which maintains protection from excessive debt, but enhances consumer choice
    • Improvements in how suppliers communicate with their prepayment customers, for e.g. as regards the seasonal accrual of standing charges
    • The formalisation of Ofgem’s Ability to Pay principles in the licence code
    • Utilisation of the full suite of smart functionality, for e.g. suppliers switching meters to credit mode to maintain supply
    • Viable alternatives to prepayment, for e.g. clarification on the future of Third Party Deductions for energy (Fuel Direct)
    • The extension of fuel voucher schemes (fuel credits)
    Spotlight:
  13. Impact Team
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    The 2019/20 workplan sets out the projects CAS's Impact Team is committed to, and the change we want to see for people and communities across Scotland.

  14. Emily Rice
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    This is CAS’s response to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations 2019. We welcome mandatory standards of energy efficiency in the private rented sector, provided that:

    Spotlight:
  15. Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    CAS has responded to BEIS’ Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme (HBRS) and Common Tariff Obligation (CTO) consultation. Both are subject to a statutory 3-year review and are designed, respectively, to subsidise the cost of electricity distribution in the North of Scotland to avoid disproportionately higher distribution network costs for consumers vs. those charged in the rest of GB; and to prevent domestic suppliers from offering less favourable terms to remote rural and island communities in the North of Scotland than they do to comparable consumers located elsewhere within the North of Scotland electricity distribution network operator region.

    The HBRS imposes a levy on every electricity consumer in GB. For a typical dual fuel domestic consumer, this equates to about £1 per annum. To date, however, the additional costs of electricity distribution in the Shetland islands has been fully met by consumers in the North of Scotland. It is proposed that this will change and will instead be distributed throughout GB.

    Spotlight:
  16. Eilidh McIvor
    Publication date:
    September 2019

    Our series of briefings, 'Voices from the Frontline', demonstrates the impact of changes to the UK social security system on people in Scotland. This latest briefing considers the impact of the five-week wait for a first payment for Universal Credit. 

  17. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    August 2019

    The Markets and Systems policy team at Citizens Advice Scotland puts consumers at the heart of policy and regulation in the energy, post and water sectors in Scotland. We work with governments, regulators and business to put consumers first, designing policy and practice around their needs.

    Our advocacy work is evidence led and we use a combination of independent research and evidence from the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland to speak up for consumers.  

    Spotlight:
  18. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    August 2019

    CAS welcomes the opportunity to respond to the ENAs consultation. We think that the consultation raises issues that need to be quickly addressed as the electricity flexibility market develops.

    Spotlight:
  19. Mike Holmyard
    Publication date:
    August 2019

    CAS has responded to the Accountant in Bankruptcy's consultation on returning funds to the free sector.

    Spotlight:
  20. Mike Holmyard
    Publication date:
    August 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to a call for written evidence on the Debt Arrangement Scheme Regulations 2019. 

    Spotlight:

Pages