Impacts of energy costs on disabled people

Consumer Scotland has just published findings from stakeholder workshops co-run by Collaborate Research on the impacts of energy costs for people who are disabled, living with a health condition or carers.

Collaborate’s report found that participants perceived there to be greater risks of disabled consumers being unable to afford their energy bills. This is due to the high cost of energy overall combined with high essential usage needs for heating, powering essential electrical devices and, in some cases, having paid carers in the home.  They also have limited opportunity to reduce energy use without causing detriment and having generally low incomes and a higher cost of living.

At the extreme end, challenges facing disabled consumers and those with a health condition were perceived to increase the risk of severe illness and even death. In addition, there were reports of people cutting back on essentials, as well as negative effects on their mental health, relationships and social isolation.

Consumer Scotland, which has published its own interim findings report, will now hold further workshops to discuss and develop a package of policy recommendations.  There are also plans to engage with government and industry to increase understanding of the challenges that disabled people face in the energy market.

Their overall aim is to build consensus across the sector on the best path to improving the experience of the energy market for disabled people.