McArthur seeks end to extra charge on energy bills

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today renewed calls to end what he described as an “extra charge on energy bills in the North of Scotland”.

The extra charge refers to the a 2p-per-unit surcharge for consumers across the North of Scotland and Islands which, according to analysis by energy regulator Ofgem, results on average as £86 extra for power each year.

In a parliamentary question to the Scottish Government, Mr McArthur has pressed the Scottish Government on its position on proposals for national fixed pricing on electricity distribution networks.

According to Mr McArthur, ‘socialising’ network distribution costs through fixed pricing would cut bills for consumers in the north and mean every community in the United Kingdom pays the same amount.

In response to Mr McArthur’s question, the Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP confirmed that the Deputy First Minister will write to UK Energy Minister inviting him to attend the Convention of the Highlands and Islands in March 2018.

The Minister further recognised that “the GB energy market does not always work in the interests of all consumers”, but fell short of committing to the principle of ‘socialising’ network distribution costs.

Commenting, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:

“The North of Scotland, including the islands, make a substantial contribution to producing the energy that we need. Despite this, the region also has some of the highest levels of fuel poverty.

 “It therefore sticks in the throat that customers in Orkney and across the region are forced to pay an unfair 2p-per-unit surcharge. That has to end. We need to see costs shared across the country.

“Resolving this problem will require both of Scotland’s governments to work together. It is therefore welcome news that the UK Energy Minister is to be invited to discuss this issue at Convention of the Highlands and Islands next year. I hope this will allow progress to be made and I look forward to hearing the outcome of these discussions.”

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