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Publications

  1. Emily Rice
    Publication date:
    July 2020

    Scotland has set some of the most determined climate goals in the world, and home energy efficiency has a large role to play in Scotland’s transition to a low or no carbon society.

    The Scottish Government has set ambitious goals for Scotland’s housing stock, which will be measured by a home’s energy efficiency rating as described in an energy performance certificate (EPC). However, consumer knowledge of EPCs is low, and even though they contain recommendations on how to make a home more energy efficient, they seem to be a poor motivational tool.

    CAS commissioned Changeworks to gather feedback about how EPCs are viewed, understood, and interacted with by consumers, and how they could be improved to be better understood and more motivational.

    Through a combination of ISM workshops and online testing, research found that:

    • Many people view energy efficiency as a luxury for those who can afford it

    • Barriers to home energy efficiency improvements are essentially cost and hassle

    • EPCs are not considered useful, and most homeowners just put them in a drawer

    • People who consider themselves highly environmentally conscious are no more likely to know their home energy efficiency rating or be familiar with an EPC than someone who is disengaged with environmental issues (value-intention gap)

    • People are mainly motivated by cost, but social desirability plays a large role as well. People may be more motivated by the cost of not acting than potential fuel bill savings, especially if this is linked to Scotland’s carbon targets or the climate emergency

    • A 1-2-3 style EPC, designed like a home report, may be easier for consumers to understand and engage with

    • Consumers value simplicity and colour, but for many the preferred style and layout was subjective. Energy efficiency advice accompanying an EPC is crucial to ensure consumers understand the document and are able to make the choices most suitable to their property

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  2. Greg Thomas
    Publication date:
    June 2020

    This insight report presents the results of research undertaken by Social Market Research during January-March 2020 on the accessibility of the Post Office network and internet and telecoms market for older and disabled people in Scotland, with analysis and recommendations based on the research findings.

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  3. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    June 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. Above all, we want to ensure that a market framework improves outcomes for heat network consumers. We have been calling for heat network consumers to have access to the same rights and services afforded to customers of the regulated energy market for several years.

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  4. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    May 2020

    CAS welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation.

    We want to ensure that the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill delivers the best possible outcomes for heat network consumers, and gives parity with the rights and services afforded to consumers of the regulated energy market. Unfortunately we are aware of instances where heat network consumers have been disadvantaged due to the current unregulated nature of heat networks and are keen that this Bill works towards improving this as much as possible.

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  5. Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    May 2020

    CAS welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Commission’s proposed measures to provide additional support to non-household organisations impacted by COVID-19. Our response focuses on key principles around stakeholder engagement within the non-household market and on ensuring that measures to support those impacted by COVID-19 are effective for both licenced providers and customers.

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  6. Markets Team
    Publication date:
    April 2020

    CAS welcomes the ambition of the Scottish Government to bring every owner-occupied home in Scotland to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C. This will not only increase the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing stock, but also reduce carbon emissions and alleviate fuel poverty. We believe a warm, dry, energy efficient home that is affordable to heat should be the standard in Scotland, not a privilege.

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  7. Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    April 2020

    In its response to the Scottish Government's principles of charging for investment period 2021-27, Citizens Advice Scotland has called on the Scottish Government:

    • To commit to the principle of affordable charges for all
    • For responsive, robust and sustainable affordability policy that adequately protects low income households
    • To ensure debt recovery achieves a balance between revenue collection and consumer protection as part of Scottish Water's developing ethical framework and its work with local authorities
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  8. Kyle Scott and Greg Thomas
    Publication date:
    April 2020
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  9. Supporting individuals and communities using private water supplies to make informed treatment choices'
    Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    April 2020

    Scotland is one of the first nations to sign up to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 6.1 specifically targets “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all”. Scotland has a significant challenge in achieving this goal by 2030 for more than 190,000 people who are not served by the public supply.

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  10. Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    March 2020

    196,000 people in Scotland are not connected to the public water supply, and rely on a private supply for drinking water. Water quality in private supplies can be poor. Those responsible for the supply must cover the full burden and cost of ensuring that they are treated, monitored, and maintained correctly. The majority of private supplies are rural or remote rural.

  11. CAS
    Publication date:
    February 2020
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  12. Water Policy Team
    Publication date:
    January 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland is today publishing a new guide for how organisations can take the public with them when planning new building developments or other activities. Based on joint research carried out with Scottish Water and the Customer Forum, the CAS report captures the components of best practice community engagement, which we believe should be at the centre of organisations’ community engagement policy and practice.

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  13. Emma Ash
    Publication date:
    December 2019

    CAS welcomes the proposals for ECO3. The ECO scheme has helped deliver energy efficiency measures to vulnerable consumers in two other phases and we were pleased to see that BEIS and Ofgem are expanding consumer protections in this third iteration. In particular, we are pleased to see the incorporation of Trustmark into ECO3 to certify suppliers.  

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  14. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    December 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. It is important that we recognise the role that all bodies and sectors have to play in achieving the new and ambitious climate change targets that were passed in the Climate Change Bill in September 2019. 


    It is, however, imperative that the Scottish Government properly supports public bodies to meet any new duties or roles. It is important that public bodies are able to continue to provide the same (or higher) standard of service to citizens without inadvertently or intentionally passing on the cost of achieving emissions reductions to the very citizens they are trying to support.

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  15. Publication date:
    December 2019

    This policy report summarises findings and recommendations from our research into the complaints process for post and parcel companies. 

    CAS commissioned interviews with a number of delivery companies, and found that many are falling behind the Universal Service Provider Royal Mail when it comes to consumer complaints procedures.

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  16. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    December 2019

    In this response, Citizens Advice Scotland lays out our support of the broad aims of the principles within the policy statement, but urge that much more must be done to strengthen consumer protection and ensure that communities are involved in the process in an inclusive, sustainable way that meets their needs. 

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  17. A proposed guide for phone, broadband and pay-TV providers
    Kyle Scott
    Publication date:
    November 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland has called for phone, broadband and pay-TV providers to recognise that vulnerable consumers need extra support in accessing these services.

    In a response to a consultation by Ofcom which is seeking to provide guidance to providers on treatment of vulnerable consumers, CAS calls for an inclusive approach which widens the definition of vulnerability to include rurality, and which recognises that consumers can be vulnerable at different times in their lives.

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  18. Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    November 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) believes it is more important to get the smart meter rollout right than it is for it to be rushed through to arbitrary deadlines, and we have long been concerned that the 2020 smart meter deadline was so unrealistic that it risked having a negative effect on consumers. In June 2016 we therefore published a report that called for the smart meter rollout to adopt an interim target of 80% smart meter coverage by the end of 2020, with 100% coverage achieved no later than the end of 2025. We reiterated this call in August 2018, and so we welcomed the UK Government’s September 2019 announcement that the smart meter rollout is to be extended to the end of 2024.

    This new-found pragmatism provides an opportunity for a review of the targets, incentives and penalties to which energy suppliers will be exposed as the smart meter rollout progresses over the next 5 years. However, it must also be acknowledged that there remain multiple technical barriers to the universal rollout of smart meters, particularly in remote rural areas and for many Scottish households that use traditional electric storage heaters as the primary form of space heating.

    These constraints lead CAS to be concerned that consumers reliant on electric heating in Scotland will be among the very last in GB to benefit from the smart meter rollout. Indeed, under current proposals we believe that it would be possible for electricity suppliers to comfortably exceed the proposed post-2020 smart meter targets without a single Scottish consumer with traditional electric heating having benefited from the rollout. This risks placing the costs of maintaining the traditional meter network onto a relatively small customer base, increasing prices for a group of consumers where a majority (52%) already struggle to afford to heat their homes to an acceptable standard.

    CAS does not underestimate the significant challenges required to overcome these issues, but we are equally clear that the smart meter policy framework and the regulation of the retail energy market post-2020 must not unfairly burden consumers with additional costs they have no opportunity to avoid. We therefore believe that there may be a need to provide short-term protection for consumers whose ability to access the benefits of smart meters is restricted by the industry's readiness to provide them with suitable metering equipment. We also consider that suppliers could be better encouraged to deliver a market-wide smart meter rollout in all areas of GB if the proposed minimum coverage level were to apply separately in each electricity distribution network area.

    While CAS supports proposals to move away from the “all reasonable steps” obligation that currently governs suppliers’ smart meter engagement programs, we are also cautious about the impact of holding suppliers to binding, linear annual targets given the technical barriers referred to above. The Citizens Advice network in Scotland already hears the concerns of consumers who have felt pressured into accepting a smart meter by their energy supplier, and even of instances where attempts to install smart meters have been made by domestic energy supply licence holders that are not the registered supplier at the property concerned. This suggests that while the imposition of installation targets backed by financial penalties for non-compliance may be driving the pace of the smart meter rollout, such targets may adversely impact consumers’ experience of smart meter installation and could jeopardise levels of engagement with the planned transition to a smarter energy future. We believe that suppliers may already be suitably incentivised to encourage their customers to embrace smart meters, and we therefore urge Ofgem to place its post-2020 focus on the enforcement of a high quality customer journey throughout the energy transition.

  19. 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%).

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  20. 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.  

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