Switching still low in some areas

Narrow tariff choices deny households cheaper fuel

Wide variations exist in switching supplier (pic: Terry Murden)


Some households are being denied the opportunity to cut their fuel bills because they have restricted meters, electric-only heating and a limited choice of tariffs. 

Citizens Advice Scotland said that despite new price caps these households were losing out on saving up to £150 on their bills by switching their supplier or moving on to lower payment schemes.

Data released to mark the beginning of Big Energy Saving Week reveals wide variations in switching across the country. More than one in five households (22.4%) in East Renfrewshire switched supplier last year, followed by Midlothian (21.3%), Fife and East Dunbartonshire (21.1% ), and Clackmannanshire (20.9%).

Households were least likely to switch in the Shetland Islands (9.9%), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (14%), Highland (14.7%), Argyll & Bute (14.8%) and Orkney Islands (14.9%).

Emma Grant McColm, energy policy manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “The figures show that there is huge variation across Scotland in rates of switching energy supplier. Big Energy Saving Week aims to tackle fuel poverty by raising awareness of ways that consumers can keep their energy bills down and helping them to find better deals, discounts, grants and help. 

“We know there are still large numbers of people paying over the odds on their energy bills. Although the energy market is changing because of the introduction of the price cap, there are still substantial savings to be made.

“We know that many of our clients in Scotland are struggling to pay their energy bills. In 2017/18, the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland dealt with 38,000 energy cases. In 2017, 24.9% of households across Scotland were estimated to be in fuel poverty – heating or eating is a real choice for many people and we would urge anyone struggling with their energy bills to get in touch with their local Bureau.”

Big Energy Saving Week begins today, and is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice Scotland, Home Energy Scotland, Citizens Advice and the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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