School of Social and Political Science

Energy expert to advise Scottish Government on fuel poverty



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Dr Kirsten Jenkins of the School of Social and Political Science has become a member of the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, helping to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland.

The new Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel will contribute to policy development to reduce fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty in Scotland. The panel was announced on 1 January 2022 by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson.

Dr Jenkins – an energy expert specialising in the social justice issues created by energy production and use ­– will be on the panel for four years until the end of 2025.

The panel is chaired by Matthew Cole, a member of Scottish Power Energy Networks’ Customer Engagement Group, and Independent Chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee.

Also on the panel are:

  • Margaret Corrigan, who manages a front line Fuel Poverty Support and Advocacy service
  • William Alister Steele, who has 30 years’ experience in delivering affordable housing and community regeneration, and former Managing Director of Castle Rock Housing Association
  • Fraser Stewart, a social scientist at the University of Strathclyde

Holding government to account in tackling drivers of fuel poverty

The panel will collectively hold the Scottish Government to account on its progress in tackling the four drivers of fuel poverty:

  1. poor energy efficiency of the home
  2. low household income
  3. high fuel costs
  4. how energy is used in the home

It will have a lead role in considering the impacts of actions by others on fuel poverty in Scotland, providing constructive challenge as appropriate.

The appointment of this new panel follows the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty strategy, published on 23 December 2021.

Fast-acting and long-term policy is required

Dr Jenkins said: “The challenge of fuel poverty in Scotland is ever more pressing with energy bills predicted to rise significantly in April 2022 as new price caps come into force. Vulnerability to fuel poverty is increasing through the rising cost of living and fluctuating energy prices, compounding its negative effects for individuals and communities already in fuel poverty whilst increasing the number of households exposed to it.

“Driven by energy costs, household income, the material efficiency of Scottish homes and behaviour, as well as structural inequalities across society, we require both fast-acting and long-term policy measures that are informed by the lived experiences of Scottish people.”

A new public body

This new public body replaces the existing non-statutory Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, appointed in April 2018.

More about Dr Kirsten Jenkins

Dr Jenkins’ research interests surround energy justice and just transitions energy policy, and sustainable energy, and she is Programme Director for the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in Energy, Society and Sustainability.

She took part in a range of activities at the 2021 COP26 in Glasgow:

COP26 at SPS – Dr Kirsten Jenkins

Visit Dr Jenkins’ SPS profile.

The Scottish Government Fuel Poverty strategy

Scottish Government news release: Eradicating fuel poverty – 23 December 2021

Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel

Scottish Government Fuel Poverty strategy – published 23 December 2021