Nicola Sturgeon will convene a summit with energy suppliers in the wake of rising bills that are expected to go up further.
The First Minister will chair the meeting before energy regulator Ofgem announces a possible rise in the energy cap on August 26, bringing together suppliers and consumer groups.
The summit, the Scottish Government said, will focus on ensuring the best advice is available to customers and businesses, and the First Minister said it could also include a “more compassionate approach to debt management”.
Scottish Power, Ovo Energy, Centrica, Octopus Energy and E.on are among the companies who will attend, along with industry bodies and consumer and poverty organisations.
“I know that this is an incredibly unsettling time for households and energy consumers across Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support those affected,” the First Minister said.
“There is a not a single solution to this problem and government, industry and the third sector in Scotland needs to work collaboratively together to ensure the right support is in place for householders and businesses during this challenging winter.
“This could include improving the availability of help and advice and considering a more compassionate approach to debt management.”
But Ms Sturgeon said that levers required to adequately tackle the problem, such as the control of VAT, borrowing and energy regulation, lay with the UK Government.
An urgent summit, convened by First Minister @NicolaSturgeon, will bring energy supply companies and consumer groups together later this month.
They will discuss how advice and support for people struggling with energy bills can be improved.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) August 16, 2022
“Only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required,” she said.
“They need to take action, now.”
The First Minister, following a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee announced plans for an emergency budget review to free up cash that could be used to counter the crisis, as well as calling on the cap rise expected this autumn to be scrapped.
Peter Kelly, the director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “Households up and down Scotland are terrified of what the colder months will bring and the likelihood is that – without further action – lives and life chances will be at risk. The situation could scarcely be more urgent.
“But it is a situation we can do something about, by taking action to protect people most at risk of poverty and deeper hardship. It is that much-needed and urgent action that we are hoping the summit can bring about.”
While Energy Action Scotland CEO Frazer Scott said more than one million Scottish households will be in fuel poverty this winter at the current rate, with the possibility of cold and damp homes adding additional pressure to the NHS.