Almost half of Scots are unaware of the possible savings that can be made by switching energy supplier, according to a survey.
As winter approaches a campaign has been launched by the Government and charities to help people reduce fuel bills and help elderly people access support they are entitled to.
By not switching, hard-working bill payers are missing out on hundreds of poundsUK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd
A survey commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Citizens Advice Scotland found that 42 per cent per cent of people in the country do not think they could save anything by switching, while of those who are aware of savings, 70 per cent believe it could only save £100 or less.
UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “By not switching, hard-working bill payers are missing out on hundreds of pounds - savings which could especially help older people heat their homes for less this winter.
“We’re spreading the message to help friends, family and neighbours to shop around for a better deal. We’ve made it easier to change supplier and increased competition in the market - so there’s never been a better time to switch.”
The campaign also urges people to help elderly relatives who need support to “winter-proof” energy bills.
Just over 50 per cent of Scots with an elderly friend or relative said they were unsure on how to help them switch, and 68% of these people believe their elderly friend or relative cannot switch because they do not know how to use the internet - the most common way of switching supplier.
Mike Thornton, director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, said: “What’s most concerning is that nearly a quarter of the people we spoke to - 23 per cent - said they were aware an elderly person they look after has fallen behind or been unable to pay their energy bills.
“We’re urging sons, daughters, friends, neighbours and even older people themselves to help each other, or someone they know, to check and make sure they are on the best deal online or over the phone. It could make a real difference this winter.”
Ipsos Mori surveyed 500 people in Scotland between September 21 and October 1.
Meanwhile, A Scottish parliament committee has said reducing energy demand will be critical to ensuring the security of the nation’s energy supply in the future.
The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee concluded that if consumers were to see how to save on their energy bills they would be more likely to change their behaviour.
Convener Murdo Fraser said: “Reducing the demand for energy is often talked about in the context of climate change but not in the debate for ensuring we have enough electricity to keep the lights on.
“During this inquiry, we heard that the reduction of demand for energy can play a key role in increasing the resilience of our energy supply by rewarding consumer behaviour to drive changes.
“It was clear that authorities at all levels need to work harder to make it easier for people to change their behaviour. As a Committee we want to see energy reduction urgently made a priority.”
The Committee’s report welcomed the introduction of smart meters, a UK wide scheme, but also called for wider reform of the current settlement system.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Despite some recent headlines, people in Scotland should be reassured by the report’s conclusion that there is no security of supply crisis in Scotland.
“With half of our energy use and climate emissions come from heating, it is good to see the Committee calling for a much more joined-up approach to our energy system.
“We fully agree with the Committee that Scottish Ministers should prioritise energy efficiency and produce a demand reduction strategy for the country.
“As we approach the Holyrood elections, we call on all political parties commit to action to help consumers and businesses cut their energy usage and energy bills.
“Independent research has shown that Scotland can have a safe and secure electricity supply with almost entirely renewable electricity generation in 2030, by playing to our amazing natural resource strengths and improving interconnections.”