Energy suppliers ‘not doing enough for low income Scots’

citizens advice scotlandEnergy suppliers are not doing enough to help customers on low incomes, according to a new report by Citizens Advice Scotland.

The charity’s Energy Advice in Detail report for the year 2015-16 shows that the most common issues again concerned billing and metering, and that suppliers are not doing enough to help those consumers who are on low incomes.

This report analyses all of the energy issues upon which Citizens Advice clients in Scotland sought in 2015-16, and places these issues within the wider policy context. Taken together, the evidence indicates the main areas in which energy markets are failing to meet the needs of consumers.

Jamie Stewart, policy officer in the Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “Our evidence shows that billing and metering issues are still extremely prevalent and continue to be the most common energy issue reported across the Citizens Advice Service in Scotland. There are clear standards which gas and electricity suppliers are required to meet, but the data shows that problems remain and cause significant hardship for consumers, particularly for those on low or fixed incomes.

“Our cases also continue to show that customer service standards and complaints procedures are not sufficient and not delivered consistently. Customers can be faced with long and multiple telephone calls to call centres and can be given advice that is of varying quality and can be contradictory.

“Evidence from across our service shows that management of energy debt still needs to improve. Energy suppliers have a role in managing consumers’ debt responsibly and are subject to licence requirements to take ability to pay into account when setting debt repayment rates. The cases we deal with continue to show that this is not carried out consistently by suppliers.”