Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Survey finds energy bills are unaffordable for 12% of Scots

(Yui Mok/PA Wire)
(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Energy bills are unaffordable for more than one in 10 Scots, according to a report by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

The survey of 3,505 people found 12% consider energy prices too expensive, with increasing numbers of consumers switching to smaller, cheaper suppliers.

More than a quarter of respondents (26%) said they switched their energy supplier in 2019, up from 21% when CAS began its reports on the state of the energy market in 2017.

Half of all those who switched providers used a price comparison website, resulting in just 16% opting for any of the so-called big six energy companies.

Although British Gas retains the largest proportion of customers at 18%, followed by ScottishPower at 16% and SSE at 15%, the percentage of people using one of Scotland’s six largest companies fell from 75% to 67% between 2017 and 2019.

Dr Jamie Stewart from CAS said: “This major report gives us a really useful insight into the state of the energy market in Scotland which policymakers in Government and industry may wish to consider.

“It’s notable that more than one in 10 consumers feel their bills are unaffordable.

“Our report highlights the key divide in the nation, with some appearing to manage the cost of energy while a significant proportion of society continue to struggle.

“We strongly believe that more needs to be done to ensure that the essential service of energy is affordable for everyone in Scotland.”

The report also found fewer Scots are using electricity to heat their homes, with a shift towards gas – the most popular primary source of heat, accounting for 73% of homes.

Use of electric heating as the primary source of heating was highest in Glasgow, where 22% of respondents use it, and north-east Scotland, where 20% reported it as their primary heat source.

Dr Stewart added: “The small fall in people using electricity and the increase in gas usage should also be considered carefully by policymakers.

“As mains gas remains the cheapest way to heat homes for most people, policymakers will have to make tough decisions about how we decarbonise household heating and how to support people with the associated costs.”

Almost half of consumers could qualify for extra support with their energy supply through the priority service register but only a quarter of consumers are enrolled in the scheme, according to CAS.

Consumers aged over 65, vulnerable people and those with disabilities or mental and physical ailments are eligible for the Ofgem-run service which provides priority support during power cuts and more-flexible meter-reading and payment arrangements.

“It’s also concerning to note too that only a quarter of consumers were enrolled in the Priority Service Register when nearly half were eligible,” Dr Stewart said.

“This is a vital scheme which delivers better support for vulnerable customers and more needs to be done to promote it.”