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Publication - Minutes

Fuel Poverty Forum minutes: August 2016

Published: 10 Feb 2017
Date of meeting: 24 Aug 2016
Date of next meeting: 15 Dec 2016
Location: Edinburgh

Minutes of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum meeting in August 2016.

Attendees and apologies

Present

  • Alan Ferguson (AF) Chair
  • Kevin Stewart (KS) Minister for Local Government and Housing
  • John Dickie (JD) Child Poverty Action Group
  • David Sigsworth (DS) Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group
  • Donna Burnett (DB) NHS Health Scotland
  • Ciaran McDonald (CMc) Age Scotland
  • Julie Walker (JW) SSE Power Distribution
  • Suzanne Taylor (ST) SP Energy Networks
  • Carol Aitken (CA) Scottish Gas
  • Alison McKean(AMck) ScottishPower
  • Karen Dickson (KD) OFGEM
  • Andrew Pope (AP) OFGEM
  • Laura McGadie (LMc) Energy Saving Trust
  • David Stewart (DS) SFHA
  • Lisa Glass (LG) Shelter Scotland
  • Di Alexander (DA) Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force
  • Norman Kerr (NK) Energy Action Scotland
  • Stephen Cunningham (SC) SHEEN

In Attendance

  • Adam Krawczyk (AK) Scottish Government
  • Ganka Mueller (GM) Scottish Government
  • Angus Macleod (AMac) Scottish Government
  • Ann McKenzie (AMck) Scottish Government
  • Alina Nedelcu Scottish Government – minute taker

Apologies

  • Mike Thornton EST
  • Claire Doherty Scottish Power
  • Christine Mckenzie SSE
  • Lyndsay Restrick SSE
  • Kristine Wood SSE Power Distribution
  • Kendal Adams SP Energy Networks

Items and actions

1. Opening comments from chair and introductions

AF welcomed all to the meeting.

2. Minister for Local Government and Housing

The Minister gave an update on the Fuel Poverty Target announcement he made in June. He restated the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle fuel poverty.

He highlighted the investment allocated for fuel poverty and energy efficiency which reflect the Government’s commitment to it. He then set out the plan for developing a longer-term approach to tackling fuel poverty, as part of SEEP, and how this will be set out in legislation by introducing a new Warm Homes Bill.

Stakeholders will be involved in the development of this new approach, in particular the 2 working groups which are both due to report by the autumn and will make recommendations on, among other things, the effective use of newly devolved powers.

3. Forum overview – Chair

Chair gave a summary of the Forum’s work to date and how the 2 working groups fit into the process.

4. Forum Members

Forum members highlighted their work to date for the Minister - details of this can be found in Annex A.

The Minister said that he was keen on attending events where ordinary people share their experience to get a holistic view on fuel poverty. He emphasised the importance of making sure that fuel poverty is dealt with across government.

AF welcomed the Minister’s points about sharing best practice and making sure that the Government and agencies work together going forward.

Minister leaves

5. Apologies and Minutes of last meeting

  • Apologies - Detailed above
  • Minutes of meeting held on 27 April 2016 - Scottish Power Energy Network should be amended to SP Energy Network. Minute of previous meeting was approved and will be published on the SG website.
  • Outstanding actions:
    AF reminded group that members needed to complete the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest forms as discussed at previous meetings. AMcK to re-circulate the list to members. NK to provide an update at the next meeting on CFP.
  • Action – Minutes to be published on the SG web site
  • Action – NK to liaise with contact on CFP and feedback at next meeting
  • Action – AMcK to recirculate COC and COI to members

6. Programme Updates – Angus Macleod

Paper circulated prior to meeting and AMac highlighted the following:

  • HEEPS:WHS – work was ongoing with continued high levels of customer satisfaction. The first annual review was due to be completed soon.
  • HEEPS:ABS – 2015-16 activity was nearly complete. Allocations had been made for the 2016-17 HEEPS: ABS programme, £10m of the budget had been allocated to SEEP pilots.
  • HEEPS: Loans – RSL loans scheme had received a total of £3.6m in applications, a 2nd round of applications is being considered. Around £1m of applications from households had been received, of which £841k paid out.
  • ECO Update – Latest statistics continued to show that Scotland was receiving proportionately more measures than the rest of GB..

Discussions took place on the collection and reporting of data. Main points were:

  • There was a request for a breakdown of customer data by eligibility to ensure that vulnerable groups are equally represented and that more vulnerable areas are prioritised.
  • Better use of data would allow better targeting of schemes to help those most in need of support. Home Analytics gave an indication of the likelihood of areas having high levels of fuel poverty, but anything more precise was difficult to achieve given income data was very hard to access.
  • Current reporting only counts measures not outcomes. The SWG will recommend that reporting on programmes is completely revised in order to ensure funding helps to meet the fuel poverty target.
  • In future, data should be collated from multiple sources to include aspects such as type of house, energy use reported to the house type, size, etc. It was confirmed that a similar tool has been developed for the rural poverty task force but it is a time consuming activity which comes down to resource and cost and could only be implemented at a sample level.
  • Action: Scottish Government to provide a more detailed breakdown of statistics for HEEPS
  • Action: Scottish Government to work with EST to clarify what data is currently used to help target HEEPS activity and identify what gaps there may be

7. Update on groups

Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force – DA

  • The remit is to develop a set of smart actions which will make it easier for people in rural Scotland to make their homes warm
  • Due to deliver the report on 22 September
  • Last meeting 21st August – identified 20 different rural dimensions to rural fuel poverty. The report will provide sources to the evidence for this.
  • The practical effectiveness of the TF outcomes must be modelled on the real world improvements made to the health and wellbeing of the people concerned.

Strategic Working Group – DS

  • Due to report mid-October.
  • Looking at things that are achievable, to map out a landscape for a medium to long term strategy on how fuel poverty is tackled.
  • The Scottish Government programmes have not helped in reducing fuel poverty for a number of reasons, the solution is to take a different approach
  • Some initial conclusions include the need to look closely at how we define fuel poverty, understanding where poverty exists and what characterises it is the first step and then develop a range of tailored solutions to address the different types of poverty.

In discussion the following comments were made:

  • This raised the issue of whether there has been any discussion on prevention of fuel poverty as opposed to tackling. DS explained that communities are dealing with this on an ongoing basis, but there is still a problem in identifying the most vulnerable people.
  • The current approach to tackling fuel poverty is to address the fabric of a home first – but homes built today are 30-40% more efficient than homes build in the 1940s and there needs to be a wider, more holistic approach.

8. Home Energy Scotland Presentation

LMc highlighted the following achievements for HES in 2015-16:

  • More than 94,000 households supported, more than 43,000 of whom vulnerable to fuel poverty and more than 900 home visits to vulnerable households
  • 97% customer satisfaction
  • More than £2.8 million in additional annual benefits
  • Reduced lifetime fuel bills by more than £1,000 customer
  • Estimated carbon savings of more than 600,000 lifetime tCO
  • Successful launch of Warmer Homes Scotland
  • More than 1,400 interactions with partners to build referral pathways including local pilots with health partners, formal national referral agreements, pilot supplier switching support, new HES referral portal developed, dementia training and formal referral arrangements with more than 80 organisations.

The Forum welcomed the achievements of HES.

9. Fuel Poverty and Poverty Briefing Note: a Commentary

Phil Mackie is working on a guidance paper to follow the report of the two working groups, it will focus on the practices that are under way and the key priorities on how the NHS might respond strategically to the fuel poverty challenges. The guidance will be published around the end of October.

10. DNOs joint presentation on data sharing

JW and ST gave a presentation which highlighted the following objectives for the 2 DNOs in achieving greater data sharing:

  • To work with trusted intermediaries in order to recruit and raise awareness of each other’s services so that we can ensure we look after those who may need extra assistance
  • To ensure accurate data is held on customers on their registers
  • Achieving this in accordance with the Data Protection Act

11. AOCB

  • DA suggested the Forum discuss the CMA report at the next meeting, though it was noted that the agenda for that meeting was already very full and the Forum agreed it would be preferable to arrange a specific workshop on the inquiry.
  • Action: Scottish Govt to organise a workshop on the CMA inquiry before the next meeting

Date of next meeting: 15 December, Atlantic Quay, Glasgow

Annex A

Member Updates to Minister

Donna Burnett – NHS Health Scotland - Working over the last couple of years on the impact fuel poverty has on wellbeing, health and equality., monitoring and trying to mitigate any risks related to people's income and wellbeing.

David Sigsworth - Strategic Working Group - Emphasis on the Forum's active approach to promote and communicate the interests around fuel poverty

John Dickie – Child Poverty Action Group - Interest in how fuel poverty impacts children and families. The Group has implemented a range of programmes involving children and families while working in partnership with energy efficiency programmes.

Ciaran McDonald – Age Scotland - Projects focused on pensioners who struggle to pay their energy bills.

Julie Walker – SSE Power Distribution - Looking at working in partnership with people and organisations such as Warmworks and EAS trying to map out the areas most impacted by fuel poverty

Suzanne Taylor – SP Energy Networks - Work on consumer vulnerability incentives trying to identify and help fuel poverty vulnerable people.

Carol Aitken – Scottish Gas - Focus around the benefits from the Warm Homes Discount. They see smart meters as a way of creating energy efficiency in the homes and working with partners across Scotland and especially rural areas to tackle fuel poverty.

Alison McKean – ScottishPower - Delivering the two main energy company obligations. They have built partnerships with installers across Scotland and are working closely with other parts of the Scottish Government.

Karen Dickson – OFGEM - Working with suppliers to eliminate removal charges for meters and looking at new measures on recording vulnerability of customers.

Laura McGadie – EST - Providing independent energy efficiency advice to households in addition to this they offer routes for benefits checks. They support circa 100,000 households/year, saving more than half a million tonnes CO2 per year.

David Stewart – SFHA - Working with tenants who tend to be on low income and thus more vulnerable.

Lisa Glass – Shelter Scotland - Running projects which support people and make sure they live in a safe and warm home while focused on maximizing income to households.

Di Alexander – Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force - Will be reporting at the end of September on Task Force findings. It's recognized that rural Scotland has the highest fuel poverty levels and they hope to come up with different actions in which to address different levels.

Norrie Kerr – EAS - Working closely with energy companies to provide advice on fuel poverty. Currently running projects focused on supporting local communities by training people in understanding smart meters and how using them can save on energy bills

Stephen Cunningham – SHEEN - Trying to involve companies to work together and build up specifications for energy efficiency work.

Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:
Fuel Poverty Forum
Scottish Government
Directorate for Housing and Social Justice Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw Road
Glasgow
G2 8LU

Published:
10 Feb 2017
Fuel Poverty Forum minutes: August 2016