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Publication - Minutes

Fuel Poverty Forum minutes: December 2016

Published: 25 Apr 2017
Location: Atlantic Quay

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

Attendees and apologies

Present
Donna Burnett NHS Health Scotland
Derek Young Age Scotland
Andrew Abraham E-Serve
Andrew Pope Ofgem
Peter Kelly Poverty Alliance
John Wood COSLA
Claire Doherty ScottishPower
Lisa Glass Shelter Scotland
Di Alexander Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force
Suzanne Taylor SP Energy Networks
Simon O'Loughlin SSE Power Distribution
Stephen Cunningham Scottish Housing Energy Efficiency Network
Kevin Stewart Minister for Local Government and Housing
Norman Kerr Energy Action Scotland
David Sigsworth Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group
Lindsey Restrick SSE
Laura McGadie EST
Fraser Stewart Citizens Advice Scotland
In Attendance
Rebekah Widdowfield Scottish Government
Katrina Chalmers Scottish Government
Ann McKenzie Scottish Government
Alina Nedelcu Scottish Government
Angus Macleod Scottish Government
Adam Krawczyk Scottish Government
Silvia Palombi Scottish Government
Apologies
Alan Ferguson Chair of the Forum
Alison McKean ScottishPower
John Dickie Child Poverty Action Group
David Stewart Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Carol Aitken Scottish Gas
Phil Mackie Mike Thornton Scottish Public Health NetworkEnergy Saving Trust

Items and actions

1. Opening comments from chair and introductions

Norrie welcomed everyone to the meeting, introduced the Minister. Members gave an overview of their role on the forum.

2. Minister for Local Government and Housing

The Minister gave opening remarks on developments since he last attended the Forum. He then passed over to David Sigsworth to give an overview of the Strategic Working Group report followed by Di Alexander on the Task Force report with questions and comments thereafter.

3. Strategic Working Group Report Overview – David Sigsworth OBE

David gave a summary of the recommendations of the Strategic Working Group report. High level recommendations in the report:

  • The fuel poverty strategy should be firmly based on the principle of social justice and creating a fairer and more equal society.
  • Address all four drivers of fuel poverty: income, energy costs, energy performance, and how energy is used in the home.
  • Establish collaborative approaches with strong leadership at national and local levels.
  • Review the current definition of fuel poverty and establish a policy objective and monitoring programme that addresses all four causes of fuel poverty.

4. Rural Task Force Report Overview – Di Alexander

Di Alexander gave a summary of the recommendations of the RFPTF report.

The report identified 21 rural unique dimensions to fuel poverty and performed an energy market investigation. The key strategic recommendations highlighted by the report were:

  • Establish clear priorities, targets and milestones
  • Prioritise all vulnerable h/holds wherever they live
  • Off-gas areas to get clear FP programme priority
  • Adopt, extend and support the Energy Carer outreach approach
  • New PCW to compare prices on all heating fuels
  • Help consumers to switch and save £100s on bills

5. Forum Members observations

Discussions took place on the two reports recommendations. Main points were:

  • Making sure that in Scotland people have enough income to avoid fuel poverty. Giving that the income issue is a cross policy problem it calls for a more coordinated and focused approach
  • Encouraging communities to produce energy themselves and start thinking of opportunities in terms of maximizing income
  • Going forwards, there is a need to collaborate at the community level in order to identify the most deprived and to deliver the fuel poverty programmes to them
  • Making sure that people are aware of the best tariff options available to them to them when choosing an energy supplier and look at cases in which there is a monopoly of a single supplier in an area

6. Minister- next steps

The Minister highlighted that the Scottish Government will consider all the recommendations that were put forward and a response will be published in the new year. The Minister then left the meeting.

7. Apologies and Minutes of last meeting

Apologies

Detailed above

Minutes of meeting held on 24 August 2016

Change the date on the first page to August 2016. Minute of previous meeting was approved and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

Outstanding actions:

Conflict of Interest Declaration for meeting

No one has anything to declare.

CFP update

Papers on this have been circulated. Alan Ferguson to write to Chair on his return. Angus Macleod has been invited to share Scottish Government experience with CFP April meeting. No Scottish membership on the Rural off gas grid group going forward.

CMA Workshop

Interested parties to email Ann.

8. Programme Updates – Angus Macleod

  • Warmer Homes Scotland –customer satisfaction remains high and the rate of referrals is increasing.
  • 2016-17 spend to end October: £10.4 million (against budget of £19m)
  • Installs: 4504 heating measures & 2960 insulation measures
  • The Annual review has now been published.
  • Area-Based Schemes – 2015-16 accrued activity ongoing but almost complete, 2016-17 activity now well under way across all councils.
  • The 16/17 programme is underway and should now accelerate as the 15/16 programme finishes. To date around £4m of spend has taken place.
  • Loans – RSL loans scheme closed. Approx £4.5m of loans issued to RSLs to assist meeting EESSH.
  • Capital Stimulus Programme launched in September. £9m of funding to social landlords to assist meeting EESSH and £1m to incentivise loan take-up.

9. SHCS Presentation on published Statistics

  • Silvia gave an overview of 2015 Fuel Poverty Statistics
  • Fuel poverty declined in the last year following the fall in price of domestic fuelsrepresenting the lowest rate recorded since 2008
  • Fuel poverty drivers register a 5.6% drop in average fuel price index and a 2% increase in income along with some energy efficiency in the housing stock.
  • There is a correlation between fuel poverty and income poverty, however, the current fuel poverty definition includes many of those who are not necessarily in income poverty, more than 52% or the fuel poor (as defined by the definition) are not income poor
  • Under current definition, fuel poverty is 31% which appears to be higher than households actual experience of thermal comfort, only 22% households mentioned that they are not always able to keep warm while 16% of households reported that this is a "serious problem" or a "bit of a problem"
  • Regarding energy efficiency measures there is a 74% increase in the share of properties in band C or better since 2010

In discussion the following comments were made

  • Request for analysis on remote rural prices and for a clarification on rural and remote rural distinction and cnsumption levels according to rural areas
  • Comments on the difficulty to capture an accurate data because households have different behaviours. Household composition also influences the patterns regardless of the income level.

10. Warmer Homes Scotland – Outcome of Review

Fiona gave an overview of the review based on 6 months data from Sept 2015 – March 2016. Progress update was circulated prior to meeting

  • Plan to hold an eligibility workshop once the new fuel poverty definition has been reviewed. Invitation through correspondence
  • A key factor of the review was enabling measures such as asbestos removing. There was a recommendation to fund these measures and include them in the scheme. There are already some funds from SSE for these types of measures
  • Remedial work and the "right first time" factor was raised – Warmworks have improved performance. Warmworks inspections are more rigorous than the independent audit quality insurance agent.
  • There is insufficient data to analyse certain aspects of the scheme, such as the community benefits, but it will be considered in the next review.

11. AOCB

Date of next meeting: 20 April, Atlantic Quay

Published:
25 Apr 2017
Fuel Poverty Forum minutes: December 2016