We're giving £1 million of funding to Citizens Advice Scotland to help people meet their energy bills

07 Jul 2022

We've teamed up with Citizens Advice Scotland to fund a new vulnerability package of over £1 million over two years to help people reduce their energy bills and avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

The funding will provide an advice and support service to help over 6,000 households in the next two years. 

The new Safe and Warm Advice Service will be targeted at vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups across Scotland. It will ensure more people are advised on how to use energy safely and efficiently in their homes to help reduce their energy bills.

The Scottish Citizens Advice network is made up of 59 local Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs), plus a national phoneline and web service. It already offers extensive advice on energy bills and this new project will be an addition to that service.

The funding we're providing will allow Citizens Advice to employ more energy advisers across central and southern Scotland to engage with local communities to support vulnerable people, as well as hard-to-reach groups, like asylum seekers, minority ethnic groups, travellers, Park Home communities and digitally excluded people. The energy advisers will provide information, advice and support on a one to one basis in their local bureaux, but can also undertake home visits for those who need it.

Maureen McIntosh, our Head of Customer Experience, said:

“We’re extremely excited to be working with Citizens Advice, one of the most well-known, highly regarded, and trusted advice organisations. We know this partnership is going to make a huge difference to communities across Scotland. With the cost-of-living crisis, this support is more vital than ever to keep those households and families most in need safe and warm.”

The project will also raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, by explaining how people can spot the symptoms and what to do if they are concerned. 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer” because it’s invisible and has no smell. CO can be produced from any carbon base appliance including gas cookers, gas friers, gas barbecues, Calor gas heaters, paraffin heaters, etc. The six main signs and symptoms are headaches, breathlessness, dizziness, collapsing, nausea and loss of consciousness.

Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Scotland, said:

“This is a terrific boost to our work providing energy-related advice. The new money will mean we can employ additional advisers in local CABs across Scotland. The specific aims of this project are to reach vulnerable people, including those who are hard-to-reach, and that’s a hugely important objective. The emphasis on CO poisoning is also extremely important, and will hopefully save lives.”

Anyone who needs advice on using energy safely, efficiently and affordably can contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau, check the online advice pages, or call the Citizens Advice national helpline on 0800 028 1456.