The Scottish government put pressure on the ‘big six’ energy suppliers about their use of pre-payment meters at a fuel poverty summit last week.
Major energy suppliers, together with Ofgem and consumer groups took part in the summit on Wednesday 17 January.
The agenda included discussion around measures to help customers move away from pre-payment meters and extra support for those struggling to heat their homes.
At the summit, which was chaired by the Scottish government’s equalities secretary of state Angela Constance, ministers also called on energy companies to make data publicly available to ensure issues facing vulnerable customers can be tracked and managed.
Suppliers agreed to report back to government ministers on the progress of helping those who are struggling with their energy bills.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse also attended the summit.
Industry attendees at the energy summit included representatives from Centrica, EDF, Eon, Energy UK, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
The consumer and voluntary sectors were represented by Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland, Energy Action Scotland, Energy Saving Trust and Existing Homes Alliance Scotland umbrella body of housing groups.
The outcomes of the summit will feed into the forthcoming fuel poverty strategy, which is open for consultation until 1 February.
The draft fuel poverty strategy, published in November, proposed the goal of eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland with an interim target that it should be a problem for less than 10 per cent of households by 2040.
The information from suppliers will also feed into the work of the Scottish government’s recently formed consumers and markets taskforce.
Speaking after the summit, Constance said: “Fuel poverty is a pressing issue and far too many households are struggling with unaffordable energy costs. We also know that vulnerable consumers, such as those living in poverty, are significantly more likely to be disadvantaged by higher costs and poor service.
“That’s why we are calling on energy suppliers and consumer groups to work together with us to tackle this issue head on. They must do everything within their power to get a better deal for the energy consumers who need it most.
“Through bold measures like the fuel poverty strategy and Warm Homes Bill, we are taking steps to combat fuel poverty. Energy suppliers also have a critical role in making sure that the poverty premium is properly tackled.