The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Newsletter 2024

The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel is pleased to present its second newsletter to share some of the highlights of the last 6 months and a look forward to its plans for the rest of this year.

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The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel – Strategic Plan 2024-2027 – Fuel Poverty Scotland (

This is the Panel’s first Strategic Plan. It covers three years – 2024-2027 –and will inform the Panel’s work over this time. It sets out the Panel’s strategic goals, the priorities we have set to deliver these, and how we will measure our progress.  The plan also includes a logic model which visually represents how the Panel expect our strategic goals (or our inputs) to be achieved (our outcomes) through our work (our outputs).

Our strategic plan has been informed and influenced by the many people and organisations we have spoken to since we were established, and we appreciate the support that we have had and the openness in which people have engaged with us.

Matthew Cole, the Panel Chair, introducing the Strategic Plan, said, “The energy price crisis has made debate on the most supportive and effective policies and programmes to alleviate and end fuel poverty, and the wider cost of living crisis, more important than ever. This debate is made more difficult by the uncertainty created by the ongoing threat to energy security, caused by global conflicts, and the challenge of the drive to net zero. The Panel is looking forward to bringing its expertise to offer advice to Scottish Ministers, foster collaborative relationships and surface good practice across the fuel poverty landscape.”



The Panel’s visit to Aberdeen

The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel visited Aberdeen on the 18th and 19th of March to speak to local stakeholders about fuel poverty. The Panel’s focus was on the Warmer Home Prescription Trial (WHPT) and heat networks. The Panel spoke to Jillian Evans (NHS Grampian) Dr Rose Chard and Rebecca Sweeny (Energy Systems Catapult), David Mackay (SCARF), as well as Jean Morrison, Jennifer Ritchie and Sandra MacDonald of Aberdeen Heat and Power. They also heard from Matt Baker of GREN Energy Ltd who own the Wick Energy Centre and District Heating Scheme.

 The Panel found the sessions very informative and saw the real impact which Warm Homes Prescription and district heating schemes can make to those suffering fuel poverty.   The Panel observed that the collaborative model adopted by the Warm Home Prescription trial (WHPT) in Aberdeen clearly worked really well.  The winning partnership of local health practitioners and community-based energy advisers, supported by the Energy Systems Catapult was clearly key to take up and the positive results. The Panel’s view is that the WHPT demonstrates the value in bringing a greater focus to positive health outcomes of warmth for those in fuel poverty and should be reflected across the fuel poverty policy landscape: being warm enabled those involved in the trial to be receptive to the second wave offer of energy efficiency improvements to their homes, helping to reduce the severity/likelihood of fuel poverty. Warmth as an enabler to behavioural change is an interesting and helpful finding for policy makers.

Aberdeen Heat & Power is an independent not-for-profit company established by Aberdeen City Council in 2002 to help address fuel poverty in its housing stock. The district heat scheme model championed by Aberdeen Heat and Power (AH&P) shows that adopting the primary objective of alleviating fuel poverty works well and that the local authority role as single investor makes for a sustainable and enabling model. AH&P is a really good example of how an on the ground fuel poverty initiative is mitigating and protecting vulnerable people from the fuel poverty driver of high energy prices in spite of the reserved nature of energy pricing, where the UK Government holds the policy levers.

To find out more about Aberdeen Heat and Power click here

Press coverage of the Panel’s visit:

Matt was interviewed by Bauer Media for their stations in Northern Scotland.

New call for warm home prescription to be extended – Scottish Business News

Helping to sine a light on fuel poverty in Scottish policy development

The Panel has had a conversation with policy developers on the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Bill consultation and the draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, promoting the opportunity that these policies have to alleviate and protect from future fuel poverty. The Panel is also offering its thinking to the Fuel Poverty policy leads as they work to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Tackling Fuel Poverty Strategy.

Forth Coming Publications

  • The Panel are planning to publish their Workplan for 2024-2025 on their website by the end of May.
  • The Panel are also looking to publish their Annual Report on their website before the beginning of the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess.

In other news – see below :

Scottish House Condition Survey:

The results of the 2022 Scottish House Condition Survey were published on the 29th of February 2024. This is a key source of fuel poverty data for Scotland. The main findings include:

  • In 2022 an estimated 31% (around 791,000 households) of all households were in fuel poverty. This is higher than the 2019 fuel poverty rate of 24.6% (around 613,000 households).
  • 5% (or 472,000 households of the 791,000 households in fuel poverty) were living in extreme fuel poverty in 2022 which is higher than the 12.4% (311,000 households) in 2019. The actual median fuel poverty gap for fuel poor households in 2022 was £1,240. This is 65% higher than the median fuel poverty gap from 2019 of £750.

Commissioned Research:

The Scottish Fuel Poverty Panel commissioned Megan Scherrer, former MSc student at the University of Edinburgh and now PhD student at the Centre of Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, to undertake a systematic review focused on the unintended consequences of decarbonisation technologies for fuel poverty outcomes. In the reviewed literature there was little mention of the unintended consequences key technologies may have for people in or at risk of fuel poverty, with the only discussion centring on the unaffordability of decarbonisation technology for those in fuel poverty. This is an important research gap which needs to be filled to ensure that fuel poor people are not left behind during the net zero transition.  You can you read the findings here.

Matt Cole and Alister Steele did a presentation on the Panel and Fuel Poverty in Scotland to Department for Energy Security Net Zero on the 30th January 2024.

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