DISCRIMINATION AND UNFAIRNESS in the UK energy market could be brought to an end through the introduction of a universal network charge.
That is the view being expressed this week by Moray’s MP Angus Robertson, who said the current system of 14 regional markets with their different charges are making energy supply for Moray much higher than other parts of the country.
Calling for the introduction of a system that would be much fairer and help to ensure that rural communities are not penalised with higher costs, Mr Robertson said that the issue had already been raised at PM’s Questions several times in recent months.
However, the UK Government has so far failed to offer any concrete assurances over a universal network charge and simply said the UK Government is “looking at making sure that energy markets in the UK are indeed working properly”.
Mr Robertson said: “The cost of energy, especially for rural households, is really significant and in some cases people are being forced to choose whether to ‘heat or eat’. That is simply unacceptable in an energy rich country like Scotland.
“Winter is a difficult time for many people but it is especially so for people in areas like Moray and the Highlands and Islands, who are penalised with higher energy costs because of where they live.
“Across the UK there are 14 regional markets with different levels of network charges meaning that electricity distribution charges for the north of Scotland are 84% higher than the charges for London and the standard unit price is 2p a kw/hr more than in other parts of the UK.
“While 2p doesn’t sounds like much it is a premium of 15% for consumers in the north of Scotland. In rural Scotland where households in off-gas areas rely on using domestic heating oil and solid fuel, costs are even higher, with energy bills, on average, around £1000 more than the national average.
“It is time the UK Government introduced a universal network charge and put an end to the discrimination and unfairness that exists within our energy market.”