ScottishPower today (Tuesday, Feb 20) welcomed a debate in the Scottish Parliament led by Christina McKelvie MSP on ways to provide affordable energy support to those in need.
As one of the large energy suppliers, ScottishPower has been working with a number of foodbanks on a pilot project to keep families in the local area safe, secure and warm this winter.
It involves a ‘Quick Credit Voucher’ being handed out to those attending foodbanks and in need of fuel assistance and has already helped over 80 families.
The voucher is designed to give those who may be in need of some help a one-off credit payment of up to £49. (£30 in summer April – September and £49 in winter October – September)
The credit is not required to be paid back through the meter and households are entitled to three payments in any 12 month period.
The current trial started with foodbanks in Carluke, Hamilton and Birkenhead. These were proposed by Christina McKelvie MSP, South Lanarkshire Councillor Julia Marrs and Birkenhead MP, Frank Field.
Since the pilots started in October 2017, ScottishPower has issued 164 vouchers on the recommendation of the pilot agencies.
The scheme has already been expanded and there are now 8 agencies running Quick Credit Voucher trials:
- Hamilton Foodbank
- Clydesdale Foodbank
- Fairer Together Project, Glasgow
- Glasgow Central CAB
- Citrus Energy, Ardrossan
- South Seeds, Govanhill
- Wirral CAB
- Wirral Energy Project Plus
This builds on initiatives being delivered by the ScottishPower Hardship Fund, which is designed to help customers who are having difficulty paying their bills.
Douglas McLaren, Retail Operations Director at ScottishPower, said: “Since our initial meeting with Christina McKelvie MSP and Councillor Julia Marrs we have partnered with several agencies, including foodbanks, for the credit voucher scheme. We offer a wide range of support to vulnerable customers and it is our hope that these initiatives will provide some extra help for those who need it most.”
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, has heralded the pilot project as a ‘lifeline’ for her constituents.
Speaking before the debate, she said: “There is no doubt that thanks to ScottishPower, Councillor Julia Marrs and the wonderful volunteers of Hamilton District Foodbank, this pilot project has been a lifeline for my constituents.
“I’m delighted that through my Members Debate, those volunteers of Hamilton District Foodbank will be recognised, as will the humanity and forward thinking of the ‘Quick Credit Voucher’ from ScottishPower.
“Following the pilot project, I wrote to the other ‘Big Six’ energy companies to see what more support they could offer my constituents, particularly as the winter months were beginning to set it.
“I have had several positive meetings with those companies and I will continue to strive for all possible support for my constituents who may need that extra help with their energy.”