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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-02553: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the use of collective switching models for energy consumption.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 21 September 2016

The Scottish Government recognises that switching energy tariff or supplier can provide significant savings for consumers. However, the Competition and Markets Authority’s recent energy market investigation has highlighted that consumers in Scotland are less likely to be active in the market than when compared with consumers in England and Wales.

In response to this, the Scottish Government is examining collective switching models and group buying of energy to inform our approach in this area. We will evaluate existing models and identify key elements of successful methods and interventions that may be helpful in promoting Scottish consumer engagement in the energy market. As part of this work, we are engaging with a number of organisations that have operated recent collective switches in Scotland to understand their experiences and those of their consumers - both positive and negative - which will grow our evidence base as we consider our next steps and inform the development of policy within our draft Energy Strategy for Scotland.

In support of this work, we will also be undertaking a survey to establish the extent of switching and the barriers that consumers face, and use the results to identify the characteristics of different types of switchers, such as those on low incomes, with the aim of developing targeted policy interventions.

Our aim is to better understand within the Scottish context, the potential to increase consumer engagement in the energy market through the promotion of collective switching schemes and the potential for innovative models to reach the most vulnerable and disengaged Scottish energy consumers, in line with the Scottish Government’s call for a fair deal for all Scottish energy consumers.