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Publications

  1. Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    The social rented sector plays a fundamental role in providing genuinely affordable housing. High quality, energy efficient social housing is vital to Scotland’s communities. Scottish Government data shows that the energy efficiency of housing in the social rented sector has improved over recent years. However, while there have been some reductions in fuel poverty in this sector, the number of households in fuel poverty remains stubbornly high and greater than the national fuel poverty rate.

    Spotlight:
  2. Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    We all use energy, post and water services and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is the independent advocate for consumers’ interests in these sectors. We work with governments, regulators and business to put consumers first, designing policy and practice around their needs and aspirations.

  3. Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    Scotland’s independent consumer advocate has pledged to put consumers first in the regulated industries of energy, water and post. The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland has outlined its priorities in its work plan for 2018-19.

  4. Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    Today the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) at Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is publishing its insight report 'Speaking up: Understanding Fuel Poverty Support Needs' alongside a briefing sheet.

    The insight report is based on research carried out in 2017 by Ipsos Mori and Bill Sheldrick. The CFU commissioned the research to explore the characteristics of fuel poor households that may be in the greatest need of support, and the types of support that would benefit them most.  The research included secondary analysis of Scottish Household Survey data as well as qualitative interviews with fuel poor households.

  5. Marcus Wilson
    Publication date:
    May 2018

    CAS' response to the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) provisional recommendations from their investigation into heat networks. 

    Spotlight:
  6. Marcus Wilson
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    It is an appropriate time for the Scottish Government to be considering and consulting on Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and the regulation of district heating. Both Scottish and UK Governments expect growth in the number of district heating schemes and for the technology to play a significant part in the decarbonisation process.

    Overall, there is a growing body of evidence of consumer detriment when district heating protections are not consistent, and strengthening protections now should forestall wider negative experiences as the sector grows.

    Recent CFU research highlighted the pressing need for, and possibility of, consumer protection in a Scottish context, which is set out in the response below. 

  7. Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU)'s report Leading By Example sets out the mechanisms that are used by 40 regulators and service providers within the regulated industries of energy, water and post to develop consumer-focused policy and practice. 

    The CFU uses seven consumer principles to evaluate policy and practice from a consumer perspective, and encourages other organisations to use them as a tool to support the design of regulation, policy and practice.  The principles seek to move organisations from thinking about consumers, to thinking like consumers.

  8. Consumer Futures Unit Response
    Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    February 2018
  9. Marcus Wilson
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    CAS' response to the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) statement of scope for its Market Study into heat networks.

    Spotlight:
  10. Publication date:
    November 2017

    Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland has produced this guide for organisations supporting PPM users. It sets out 5 key support areas and how these can be tailored to PPM users. Organisations should use these guidelines to ensure they are providing appropriate and effective support to PPM users, both in-house and through partnership work.

    Spotlight:
  11. Ian Shearer
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    Today the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) of Citizens Advice Scotland has published its insight report Warming Scotland up to Energy Efficiency: Putting Consumers First.

    This insight report, and our other detailed recent publications on which it is based, seek to help provide a consumer perspective on this important area of policy.

  12. Ian Shearer
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit is publishing a series of briefing sheets that draw together evidence and recommendations on issues relevant to energy, post and water consumers in Scotland. This briefing gives an overview of research into consumer views on Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme, and incentivising energy efficiency improvements in the owner-occupied sector. 

  13. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland supports ambitious climate change targets. We understand that the negative economic and social impact of climate change on future generations will be greater if action is not taken now.

    However, the near term impacts on the citizens of Scotland must be carefully managed to ensure that decarbonisation policies consider affordability and consumer needs and acceptability in a way that will build positive trust and lead to mutual positive outcomes.

     

  14. nina.ballantyne
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Up and down the country, decisions are taken every year that affect us as consumers of energy, post and water. These can be anything from new laws, to choices made by private companies. A wide variety of interests and priorities are considered by these decision makers, who range from businesses and political parties to government officials and regulators. 

  15. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Our Energy Advice in Detail report analyses the energy issues upon which Citizens Advice Service clients in Scotland sought help in 2015-16, and places these issues within the wider policy context. Issues were raised through the following three services:

    • 23,237 new energy issues brought by clients through the 61 Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland, an increase of 5% from 2014-15.
    • 4,210 calls from Scotland to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service-a decrease of 12% from 2014-15.
    • 1,163 vulnerable consumers in Scotland supported by the Extra Help Unit, almost identical to the number in 2014-15.
  16. Research on face-to-face actions to help consumers in fuel poverty in Scotland
    Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Facing Fuel Poverty explores what projects and services delivering face-to-face fuel poverty advice exist in Scotland and examines the benefits and costs of delivering such services.

    Based on research carried out by Changeworks on behalf of the CFU, we note that tailored fuel poverty advice, delivered in the home, is reported as a necessary service for certain consumers, but that improved monitoring and evaluation of projects is needed. 

  17. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    “We welcome the production of an energy strategy which draws together all aspects of energy production and consumption, and presents a whole system view. 

    We also welcome the ambition of the strategy to deliver targets such as an all energy target for the equivalent of 50% of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. However given the significant role that consumers are likely to play in achieving these targets, the impacts upon consumers must be central to proposals and policies set out in the final energy strategy.

    Consumers will be especially important in the delivery of low carbon heating in Scotland’s domestic buildings. Given the uptake of renewable heating systems in Scotland has been relatively low to date, the affordability and understanding of consumer behaviour in new policies must be carefully considered moving forward.

    Currently those who live off the gas grid and often rely on expensive electric heating suffer from the highest rates of fuel poverty. The transition to low carbon heating systems and a low carbon energy system more widely, must ensure that these households are supported as a priority.

    As highlighted as a key theme in the strategy, the energy transition must be stable and managed and consider the needs of all consumers in Scotland.”  

  18. Publication date:
    May 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit is publishing a series of briefing sheets that draw together evidence and recommendations on issues relevant to energy, post and water consumers in Scotland. This briefing gives an overview of consumer issues in relation to district heating in Scotland. 

  19. Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    May 2017

    Different Rules for Different Fuels examines consumer and supplier experience of district heating in Scotland in relation to consumer protection, and what consumer protection measures could be implemented in Scotland. The CFU is calling for greater protection for consumers in Scotland who use district heating schemes, based on research carried out by Changeworks and the Centre for Sustainable Energy on behalf of the CFU. 

  20. Consultation Response from Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    April 2017

    The Scottish Government's consultation on introducing local heat and energy efficiency strategies and the regulation of district heating presents an opportunity to further embed consumer principles in energy markets, and tackle fuel poverty. In this substantial response, the Consumer Futures Unit has presented unique evidence to inform the development of these strategies, and the content of regulation, to ensure the interests of consumers are at their heart. 

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