GCU academic contributes to major fuel-poverty scheme review

30 June 2016

GCU academic contributes to major fuel-poverty scheme review

Dr Keith Baker

A major review conducted for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), CAG Consultants and the Energy Agency has called for independent monitoring and evaluation to be built into all future energy-efficiency and fuel-poverty schemes.

The review, which was led by Dr Keith Baker of GCU, Tim Maiden of CAG and independent consultant Andrew Faulk, makes 17 key recommendations for developing a long-term approach to energy efficiency and fuel poverty.

Headline recommendations include greater independent integration in the delivery of public services − particularly those involved in frontline health and social care which make referrals to energy-efficiency and fuel-poverty schemes − and piggybacking support onto the smart meter roll out. All households are due to get smart meters by 2020, which have to be installed by a contractor. The recommendation is that the Scottish Government should use this opportunity to get face-to-face energy advice to householders.

The research was commissioned by CAS, the country’s largest independent advice network.

Dr Keith Baker said: “This research was needed because, to date, there has been relatively little independent monitoring and evaluation conducted on Scottish schemes, and so valuable evidence has been left unreported. There are also particular difficulties with evaluating fuel-poverty schemes as their aims go way beyond simply reducing household emissions.”

He added: “The Scottish Government currently estimates that 34.9% of households are in fuel poverty, and 9.5% are in extreme fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10% and 20% of their income on staying warm, but this varies hugely across Scotland and is in excess of 70% among elderly households in the Western Isles.

“A study by Ronald Mould, a PhD student working with me, has found the problem of fuel poverty in rural areas to be more extensive and complex than current statistics suggest, and we are currently validating and expanding on these findings with funding from the Eaga Charitable Trust.”

The report can be viewed here: http://www.cas.org.uk/publications - under the name of Taking the Temperature.

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