Consumer protection in the domestic energy efficiency and renewable retrofit market

The Scottish Government’s plans for decarbonisation involve the large-scale retrofit of homes across the country with energy efficiency measures and renewable technology. The scope and speed of this task make a robust framework for consumer protection essential.  

Citizens Advice Scotland commissioned Changeworks to assess the current state of the consumer protection landscape. The research in this report includes a literature review, stakeholder interviews and a workshop. Gaps in provision and policy identified by the research helped inform recommendations for improving the customer journey.

Although some safeguards already exist, the report identifies several areas where improvement is needed. A lack of information means that public awareness of consumer codes and other protections are low.

Existing provisions are disconnected and difficult to navigate, leading to piecemeal service and a frustrating customer experience.

These problems – amongst others – are present throughout each stage of contracting with an installer.

The framework proposed to alleviate these issues outlines a simplified and satisfactory customer journey, facilitated by different provisions and organisations. Its implementation would protect against mis-selling, fraud, and poor-quality products, whilst ensuring that services are joined up and fit for purpose. Only through such mechanisms can we ensure public confidence in the decarbonisation sector. This is vital for the success of Scotland’s Net Zero goal.