MP for Highlands is calling for ‘fairer’ energy prices as the UK government figures show the north of Scotland pays the highest price for electricity in the country.
According to the Inverness Courier, Highland MP Ian Blackford has slammed the current system as an ‘absolute scandal’ as well as ‘discrimination.’
The UK is divided into different electricity delivery sectors, with the north of Scotland sector the most expensive.
The north of Scotland pays the highest average variable unit price per megawatt-hour for electricity – at £15.70 – but also has the highest average annual electricity bills – at £602.13.
By comparison, the south coast of England, excluding the south west, pays between £556 and £565 a year and are charged between £14.29 and £14.68 per megawatt-hour.
The Highlands also has the third highest rate of fuel poverty in Scotland, with only Moray and the Western Isles faring worse.
According to the Inverness Courier, BEIS refused to comment the situation beyond providing information on the UK government’s policy as it stands.
According to a consultation on the Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme: “The government agrees with respondents that consumers in the north of Scotland should be protected from the significantly higher electricity distribution costs arising in the region, and welcomes the strong support given by most respondents to the schemes’ policy objectives.”
But it added: “Any move to universal pricing for electricity network charges would produce winners and losers, with 16 million households seeing increases and reductions for only 11 million households.
“Moving away from the current approach of cost reflective electricity distribution prices would risk an overall increase in network costs, as each network company would be less accountable to its local communities and businesses for costs incurred.
“Ofgem has concluded that there is no compelling case from a regulatory perspective to move to a universal network charge.”
Fuel poverty in the Highlands is a topic Mr Blackford has campaigned on for years.
“The reality is that if you live in the Highlands and Islands, you will pay for the privilege of doing so courtesy of the UK Government”, Mr Blackford has stated in the past.
“What is needed is a universal market with a single price wherever the consumer lives.
“—It is simply an injustice that in an area of the highest levels of fuel poverty, where we produce cheap electricity that we are being over charged. That is the reality.
“There is a broader point that Scotland is an energy rich country whether it is from fossil fuels or our ability to deliver renewable energy in the future.
“Our unique characteristics as an energy producer should not be trapping our people in fuel poverty.”