Fuel Poverty


thumbnail of 22.01.18 Fuel booklet
Click the image to download the guide

Around one third of households in Scotland suffer from fuel poverty. A shocking statistic for a wealthy country that has an abundance of energy resources. A warm, dry home should be a basic right.

There are three main elements to tackling fuel poverty – the price of fuel, energy efficiency/use and household income. UNISON Scotland has campaigned on all of these issues and will continue to urge governments to take action to eliminate fuel poverty.

We also recognise that our members can play a practical role in minimising fuel poverty. Many public service workers have to address the consequences of fuel poverty in their daily jobs. They see the damage it does to families and communities.

That’s why we work with our partners in the Keeping Scotland Warm campaign, Energy Action Scotland and National Grid, to take practical action to reduce the impact of fuel poverty. This includes raising awareness of the practical support and guidance that is available from a range of agencies.

This booklet is part of that initiative. Our partner, Energy Action Scotland, has brought together a range of resources, with links to more detailed guidance. We hope this concise introduction will support UNISON members to help others to make the most of the resources available. It will also help the many low paid UNISON members who also suffer from fuel poverty.

This booklet won’t eliminate fuel poverty – that requires political action. The aim is to raise awareness and promote the practical measures that can help minimise the impact of fuel poverty on a third of our fellow citizens.

UNISON Energy Action Scotland

Fuel Poverty factsheets

This is a series of factsheets to accompany our booklet 'Tackling Fuel Poverty'. 1. Understanding Fuel Bills & Statements 2 ...
thumbnail of Understanding fuel bills and statements

1. Understanding fuel bills and statements

Suppliers are required to provide their customers with specific information on electricity and gas bills and annual statements. Credit meter ...
thumbnail of 2. Meters and How to Read Them

2. Meters and How to Read Them

Electricity Meters There are three types of electricity meter in common use – standard (credit), variable rate (credit) and prepayment ...
thumbnail of 3. Smart Meters

3. Smart Meters

Smart meters will have replaced almost all existing electricity and gas meters in GB homes by 2020.  Smart meters measure ...
thumbnail of 4. Paying by Direct Debit & Standing Order

4. Paying by Direct Debit & Standing Order

A direct debit is an instruction from a customer to their bank or building society which allows the fuel supplier ...
thumbnail of 5. Paying Quarterly

5. Quarterly Billing

With this system fuel is used and paid for later – in other words the fuel is supplied on credit ...
thumbnail of 6. Paying by Prepayment Meter

6. Paying by Prepayment Meter

Meters are special meters which only provide fuel after it is paid for. These meters are operated by tokens, cards ...
thumbnail of 7. Paying by Regular Payment Scheme

7. Paying by Regular Payment Scheme

Consumers may be able to pay for fuel in equal amounts every week, fortnight or month.  Payment books are suitable ...
thumbnail of 8. Paying by Fuel Direct

8. Paying by Fuel Direct

Income Support/income-based Jobseekers Allowance/income-related Employment,Support Allowance/Pension Credit and Universal Credit: Fuel Direct (also referred to within the Department for Work ...
thumbnail of 9. Struggling to Pay Fuel Bills

9. Struggling to Pay Fuel Bills

Customers who find themselves struggling to pay fuel bills/arrears should be encouraged to contact their supplier as soon as possible.  ...
thumbnail of 10. Draughtproofing

10. Draughtproofing

Draughtproofing is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save energy in any type of building.  It should be ...
thumbnail of 11. Tank and Pipe Insulation

11. Tank and Pipe Insulation

Tank & Pipe Insulation Both tank and pipe insulation keep water hotter for longer by reducing the amount of heat ...
thumbnail of 12. Loft Insulation

12. Loft Insulation

Loft Insulation As much as a third of the heat produced in a home could be escaping through the roof ...
thumbnail of 13. Cavity Wall Insulation

13. Cavity Wall Insulation

The external wall of a house is often constructed of two masonry (brick or block) walls, with a cavity (gap) ...
thumbnail of 14. Solid Wall Insulation

14. Solid Wall Insulation

Internal and External Insulation Solid wall properties tend to be more difficult and expensive to improve in terms of adequate ...
thumbnail of 15. Condensation Dampness

15. Condensation Dampness

Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold ...
thumbnail of 16. Switching

16. Switching

Most gas and electricity consumers can switch supplier, unless they have an outstanding fuel debt (the debt threshold for prepayment ...
thumbnail of 17. Tariffs

17. Tariffs

There is a range of tariffs available from each energy supplier.  Suppliers may also offer ‘bundled’ products and rewards with ...
thumbnail of 18. Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland

18. Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland

In order to tackle fuel poverty and meet energy and emission reduction targets, a primary focus of the Scottish Government ...
thumbnail of 19. Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme

19. Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme

Warmer Homes Scotland is a Scottish Government funded fuel poverty scheme.  Warmer Homes Scotland is designed to help people make ...
thumbnail of 20. Home Energy Scotland Loan Scheme

20. Home Energy Scotland Loan Scheme

Home Energy Scotland loans replace two previous programmes - the HEEPS Loan Scheme and the Home Energy Scotland Renewable Loan ...
thumbnail of 21. Warm Home Discount

21. Warm Home Discount

Introduced in April 2011, the Warm Home Discount (WHD) obliges larger energy companies to provide a discount on energy bills ...
thumbnail of 22. Warm Home Discount Broader Group

22. Warm Home Discount Broader Group

The Warm Home Discount Regulations (and recent Miscellaneous Amendments) introduced standard criteria for eligibility that all participating suppliers must adhere ...
thumbnail of 23. Winter Fuel Payment

23. Winter Fuel Payment

Anyone born on or before the qualifying date (for winter 2017/18 this is 5th August 1953) should receive a Winter ...
thumbnail of 24. Funds, Foundations and Trusts

24. Funds, Foundations and Trusts

Some energy companies have trust funds which aim to help customers who are in debt, or which may fund projects ...
thumbnail of 25. Priority Services Register

25. Priority Services Register

Energy Suppliers and network operators are required to keep a register of customers who, by virtue of their circumstances, might ...