ALIenergy celebrates 14 years membership of Energy Action Scotland

Energy Action Scotland (EAS) campaigns for an end to fuel poverty in Scotland and is the only national charity with this sole remit. EAS is 40 years old this year.

When I first joined ALIenergy in 2009, one of my first tasks was to visit the Energy Action Scotland offices in Glasgow for various training courses. This was always a great pleasure. There was always a very warm welcome from the EAS team, a delicious lunch, and of course the training was second to none. Back then, levels of fuel poverty in Scotland were already totally unacceptable. Little did we know just how bad the situation was going to get – despite all our hard work.

Over the years, ALIenergy has responded to the increasingly desperate levels of fuel poverty by expanding operations both in terms of the size of the team and the area covered: originally covering the area of Argyll and Bute only; now also providing affordable warmth advice in Lochaber (since 2021) and the rest of Highland (since 2022). Membership of EAS has been a great support and resource throughout this time.

Following expansion of operations into the Highland area, the ALIenergy team was delighted to welcome Di Alexander onto their Board of Directors earlier this year. Di is based in the Highlands and has a wealth of experience in the fuel poverty and housing sectors. He is well aware of the particular issues faced by our rural households in northwest Scotland which contribute to higher levels of fuel poverty. Bad weather, low incomes, poorly insulated housing and elderly demographics all play their part. But the single most important factor is a lack of mains gas, and consequent reliance on much more expensive forms of heating – particularly electric heating, when electricity is now so very unaffordable, at 3-4 times the cost of mains gas. This has pushed many more households in rural northwest Scotland into shocking levels of fuel poverty.

It has been my privilege to take my turn as EAS Convener from 2021. My 6-year term of office on the EAS Board since 2017 shall soon come to an end. How time flies; it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with EAS CEO Frazer Scott and his dedicated team who give their time, expertise and passion to fight fuel poverty, and also to support the ongoing frontline work of member organisations such as ALIenergy, to help those many households who are struggling to afford the basic costs of heating their homes in these most difficult of times.

Lynda Mitchell, ALIenergy Manager and EAS Convener 2021-23