Scotland Introducing Independent Consumers Commission
The Scottish Government had revealed a plan to empower energy consumers by establishing an independent consumers commission. The aim is to provide customers with a ‘more powerful voice’ in both Scotland and the UK’s energy policies.
Expert advisors and consumer groups, including industry regulator Ofgem, have all helped develop the Energy Consumer Action Plan.
The plan hopes to make policy and regulatory decision-making more concerned with the interests of the people. The plan also includes proposals to develop a charter urging signatories to address a variety of consumer issues.
Influencing Consumer Behaviour Requires Trust
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the nez plan by saying, “As the energy market continues to evolve, we need to ensure that it is more responsive to people’s needs and interests. If we are to influence consumer behaviour in the future we need to build trust, and ensure that the system puts people first.
“That is why today, the Scottish Government is publishing our Energy Consumer Action Plan. It sets out what we will do to ensure better outcomes for consumers, in our energy market.”
Essential to Improve Tackling Consumer Concerns
The Scottish Minister for Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said in a statement, “A carbon neutral Scotland supports a better Scotland and an investment in our future society, environment and economy for Scotland, Europe and the World. It is essential that we act individually, locally, nationally and globally to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Minister also spoke at length about the need for change in the way consumer concerns are handled. Mr Wheelhouse continued, “While the provision of energy to Scotland’s domestic consumers is essential to modern living, the day-to-day working of the energy system is not understood by everyone. Yet, as citizens and consumers, we are expected to play an increasingly important role in shaping our future energy systems.
“It is for this reason that we are committed to changing the way consumer issues are viewed and tackled in Scotland. This is essential because our ability to meet our energy and climate change targets depends on Scottish consumer voices being heard loud and clear, and crucially, being integrated into regulatory and policy decision-making at an early stage.”
Protecting Consumers and Promoting Smarter Technology
Mr Wheelhouse also quoted from Scotland’s Energy Strategy, noting that there were two essential parts to it. The first is a commitment to promote consumer engagement and protect consumers from excessive and avoidable costs. Furthermore, the second is to prevent new forms of social exclusion and promote the benefits of smarter domestic energy systems.
It remains to be seen how effective the independent consumers commission and the Energy Action Plan will be. However, Scotland is once again leading the way with innovative energy strategies.
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