Immediate funding is being given to leading energy advisory organizations to ensure energy customers can access essential support and advice to cope with rising energy bills and heating costs .
More than £1.2million will be distributed to help key agencies including Advice Direct Scotland, Home Energy Scotland and Citizen’s Advice Scotland reach more people who need help.
The funding will also support a training program for staff of third sector organizations to broaden the reach of expert advice.
The Scottish Government pledged further support to advisory agencies at the First Minister’s Scottish Energy Summit on Tuesday August 23, during which a series of additional actions aimed at mitigating price rises energy have been agreed with energy companies and consultancy organisations.
The additional funding announced today comes on top of the Scottish Government’s existing investment in free income, wellbeing and debt advice services, including support for Money Advice Scotland and the Advice Scheme in wellness and health partnerships.
Zero Carbon Buildings and Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie said: “We know this is an incredibly troubling time for all households and businesses and it is imperative that those who are worried or have difficulty struggling to heat their homes have access to the information and support they need to reduce their energy bills.
“A further announcement of an increased energy price cap will only heighten concerns, making the need for impartial and expert advice and support even more vital.
“The Scottish Government is clear that energy customers simply cannot bear the burden of further price increases in October, and that the UK Government must now commit to freezing the cap for all households. and to help energy companies achieve it.
“In the meantime, the cost crisis is already hitting energy customers hard and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything in its power to support the people of Scotland through it.
“This funding will ensure that expert advisors across the country stand ready to provide crucial support and advice to those who are rightly worried about their energy bills. I urge anyone with concerns to access these services and get the support they need.
A total of £1.268 million will be split between energy advisory services as follows:
£220,000 to Advice Direct Scotland to fund new staff for its consumer contact centres, including vulnerable consumers, in need of help.
£50,000 to Advice Direct Scotland to create a customer-friendly online digital journey.
£220,000 to Citizen’s Advice Scotland to build the capacity of their local advice offices enabling them to provide advice on energy debt and energy efficiency measures.
£280,000 to expand the Home Energy Scotland advisory service.
£198,000 for Home Energy Scotland recruits who will provide training to staff from third sector organizations on energy efficiency, which will benefit around 200 local community groups and organisations.
£300,000 to improve business support through Business Energy Scotland.
The Scottish Government estimates that 906,000 or 36% of all households will be in energy poverty in October 2022, based on an Ofgem price cap of £2,800 and taking into account mitigation measures previously announced by the government.
The Scottish Government has allocated nearly £3billion this financial year which will help households cope with the rising cost of living.
This includes providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK, which help to reduce day-to-day costs and increase income.
It also includes £10million to continue the Fuel Insecurity Fund which helps households at risk of severely rationing their energy use or going completely self-disconnected.