It’s always a pleasure to be in Edinburgh, whether for work or relaxation; and after a 10-year absence, I managed to go twice in two weeks. Firstly to celebrate my wife’s 30th Birthday; and earlier this week, to attend the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Consumer Protection for Home Efficiency and Renewable Energy, chaired by Clare Haughey MSP.
The vision for Consumer Protection for Home Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Scotland is really leading the way in the UK for renewables. The Government has an ambitious target of 100% of Scottish domestic energy to come from renewables by 2020. In a land of contrasting weather it makes sense to use the environment to their advantage and save consumers money, and most importantly save the environment.
These thoughts were brought down to earth by some of the horror stories shared by representatives from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, as well as an Ayrshire action group. They detailed the systematic, fraudulent abuse of the Green Deal scheme by one particular rogue trader, that has left consumers with poor quality installations and in some cases, unable to sell their own homes due to financial charges on the property.
An enterprising member of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) had gone through consumer protection legislation and looked for a way to assist consumers. This made me think that where legislation doesn’t always cover consumers, it is down to the industry to look for self-regulation solutions; and with dwindling resources in the consumer protection world such as cuts to trading standards budgets, it really is important that self-regulation is given a platform.
We look forward to the next meeting in May 2018.