A new Scottish publicly owned energy firm could use the “greater trust” it would enjoy as the country’s national supplier to sway Scots to switch and ensure its success, MSPs have been told. It could be critical to the core aim of the proposed new national power company to lower energy prices north of the Border, a report by Strathclyde University’s International Public Policy Institute indicates. Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to establish a new public owned energy company (POEC) by 2021 and a report for Holyrood’s economy committee indicates that persuading enough Scots to switch to the new supplier will determine its ability to lower prices. Rates of fuel poverty remain high in Scotland with 26.5 per cent of households being fuel poor in 2016. Citizens Advice Scotland also warns MSPs that the one of the key challenges facing the new energy company will be persuading poorer Scots – most likely to need its service – to switch. “The POEC will need to consider innovative ways of attracting typically disengaged, fuel poor customers to ensure that they can benefit from lower-cost tariffs and thus fulfil its aim,” CAS states in a submission. “Consumer trust in energy suppliers is still low and while some consumers may feel greater trust in a POEC which is not operating for profit, a POEC would arguably be more vulnerable to a loss of trust if it faces difficulties (e.g. inability to maintain competitive tariffs, poor customer service) than other energy companies given its high profile and the likelihood of greater scrutiny,” it adds.
Scotsman 2nd Oct 2018 read more »