Attendees and apologies
- Alan B Ferguson (AF): Chair
- Norman Kerr (NK): Energy Action Scotland
- John Dickie (JD): Child Poverty Action Group
- Silke Isbrand (SI): COSLA
- Di Alexander (DA): Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force
- Lindsay Restrick (LR): SSE
- Donna Burnett (DB): NHS Health Scotland
- Phil Mackie (PM): NHS Health Scotland
- Stephen Cunningham (SC): Scottish Housing Energy Efficiency Network
- Laura McGadie (LMc): Energy Saving Trust
- Robbie Stevenson (RS): SGN
- Ciaran McDonald (CMc): Age Scotland
- Katie Morrison (KM): Citizens Advice Scotland
- Lisa Glass (LG): Shelter Scotland
- Suzie Taylor (ST): SP Energy Network
- Kristine Wood (KW): SSE Power Distribution
- Kendal Adams (KA): SP Energy Network
- Shona Fisher (SF): Ofgem
- Antoni Michael: Ofgem
- Christine MacKenzie (CMacK): SSE
- Alison McKean: ScottishPower
- Robbie Stevenson: SGN
- Ann McKenzie (AMcK): Scottish Government
- Angus Macleod (AMac): Scottish Government
- Ganka Mueller (GM): Scottish Government
- Adam Krawczyk (AK): Scottish Government
- Lyndsay Slack: Scottish Government (Minute Taker)
- Dominic Munro: Scottish Government
- David Sigsworth: Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group
- Mike Thornton: Energy Saving Trust
- Julie Deegan Wood: Citizens Advice Scotland
- Carol Aitken: Centrica
- David Stewart: SFHA
- Claire Doherty/Gillian Noble: ScottishPower
- Claire Telfer: Save the Children
Items and actions
1. Welcome, apologies and minute of last meeting
AF welcomed all to the meeting.
AF gave a brief outline of the agenda and it was agreed that the CAS presentation would be moved to the next meeting as a substantive agenda item to allow for more detailed discussion.
Minute of last meeting
Minute of previous meeting was approved and will be published on the SG website.
AF reminded group that members needed to complete the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest forms as discussed at previous meetings.
2. Programme Update
HEEPS: ABS, Warmer Homes Scotland, ECO – Paper circulated prior to meeting and AMac highlighted the following:
- HEEPS:ABS – 2015/2016 schemes will be finalised by September 2016
- applications are currently being received for 2016/17 funding from all councils and, as in previous years, a sub-group of the Forum will be set up to help with the assessment.
- Cashback Scheme was now closed
- HEEPS: Loans scheme had been revised for 2016/17 to make it more attractive to individuals. A HEEPS: Loans scheme for RSLs was also to be launched.
- Warmer Homes Scotland – Referrals had been lower than anticipated, though a significant reason was the SAP rating criterion. The SAP eligibility threshold will be raised from 55 to 65 which would help increase the volume of referrals. Forum welcomed this proposal.
- WHS review is ongoing and will report at future forum
- SEEP – Applications for pathfinder funding had been received and were being assessed, hoping to complete the process by end June 2016
- SEEP programme board had been established and incoming Ministers would be briefed in due course
NK raised the issue of the low volume of referrals impacting on the supply chain and asked if marketing could help address this. AMac agreed that promotion of the scheme was key. Unfortunately, the previous marketing campaign had not had the desired impact on referrals. The increase in the SAP threshold should help boost referrals, but the SG was also looking at, for example, making links with DWP to highlight the Home Energy Scotland hotline to recipients of Winter Fuel Payments. There was also ongoing work into using community based events to raise awareness.
NK and DB welcomed the case studies that had been circulated giving information about households that had benefited from WHS, but asked for more precise predicted savings if possible. It would also be good to have more information on how customer satisfaction is measured and the types of households helped by WHS. AMac said that customer satisfaction was measured for both HES and WHS. Improving the level of monitoring data for all schemes was a key priority for the SG and it was intended to do some more detailed monitoring of WHS recipients to better measure actual outcomes over time.
3. Update on Scottish budget and implications
AMac gave a brief update on the 2016-17 budget:
- £103.3 million budget announced which included £19m for WHS, £24m for loan funding, £10m for advice and support and £50m for HEEPS:ABS;
- £10m of HEEPS:ABS budget will fund SEEP pilot;
- aimed to install measures into 14000 homes in Scotland through ABS and WHS
- equity-based loans scheme currently being explored
4. Update from Fuel Poverty Groups
Update on SRFP Taskforce
DA introduced and the following points were raised:
- taskforce is due to issue final report in September 2016
- first draft of action plan is being finalised and has over 50 actions to address fuel poverty in rural Scotland
Update on Strategic Working Group
NK introduced and raised the following:
- work of group will be completed by October.
- recommendations will be agreed by end May for David Sigsworth to take to incoming Ministers
- group will feed into main report, to be drafted by Elizabeth Leighton
- all minutes are available to view online
- NK also confirmed that the Forum will be able to view the interim recommendations after Ministers had seen them.
5. Committee on Fuel Poverty (CPF) (FPAG Replacement)
Discussion was had around how Forum will feed into new group and what the remit of the group is.
It was agreed that NK would contact counterparts in the NEA for a remit and better understanding of the SPF before Forum decides on best form of interaction.
6. Presentation by SGN: circulated prior to meeting
RS gave a presentation from SGN. The topics covered were:
- Help to Heat strategy
- Help to Heat schemes
- Affordable Warmth
- off gas grid support
Discussions were had around gas connections and eligibility criteria – CAS to follow up for more information for customers.
7. Presentation by Scottish Power Energy Network: circulated prior to meeting
ST gave presentation from SPEN and the following topics were discussed;
- vulnerability/vulnerable customers
- power cuts
- broadening understanding of vulnerability
- targeting vulnerable customers
- Network Natter/Jab and Jabber projects
- future development
- customer feedback
Discussion was had around statistics on fuel poverty and tax credit information. Vulnerability training was identified as crucial for front line staff. The option of a single PSR for Scotland was discussed but there was no consensus on this.
SPEN to come back with presentation on data sharing around vulnerability at the next meeting.
8. Members Papers – impact statements
AF thanked organisations for papers and welcomed any comments on papers. It was agreed this gave a better picture of what organisations have been involved in and should be circulated annually.
AK gave feedback from the meeting of the European Commission Vulnerable customer working group that he attended. AK agreed to share his presentation with the Forum .
Phil Mackie paper
Phil Mackie spoke through paper (circulated prior to meeting) and highlighted the following:
- paper looks at links between income poverty, health and fuel poverty
- paper is part of a broader piece of work and should not be circulated more widely
- addressing fuel poverty will not always have a direct effect on health overall
Discussion will be revisited at a later date. It is hoped that this paper can feed into the work of the Strategic Working Group around the definition.
ABS sub-group is to be re-established to consider proposals for HEEPS: ABS funding and a request was made for new members for the group. Andy Robinson will contact CAS about potential representation on the group.
Telephone: 0300 244 4000
Fuel Poverty Forum
Directorate for Housing, Regeneration and Welfare
150 Broomielaw Road