Published: 13/03/2017 16:12 - Updated: 13/03/2017 16:16

Shock for far north householders as electricity tariffs soar

EAS - increases will really bite in rural areas.
EAS - increases will really bite in rural areas.

Households in the far north will be particularly hard hit by the rise in electricity prices announced by the major energy companies over the past week.

For there is no access to mains gas (where increases are much smaller) and little alternative.

SSE were the latest to announce an increase in tariff today, going up by 14.9 per cent.

E.ON prices are increasing by an average of 13.8 per cent from 26 April; ScottishPower by 10.8 per cent; EDF by 8.4 per cent and npower by 15 per cent. 

Meanwhile gas price increases are around the 4.5 per cent mark.

According to the Scottish Government’s figures, 12 per cent of Scottish households (284,000) rely on electricity as their main source of heating.  Many of these households are off the gas grid and so have a more limited choice of heating types. Figures show that 16 per cent of Scottish households are off the gas grid and of these, 63 per cent are in rural areas.

Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland (EAS) said: “For people struggling to make ends meet, any price rises for basic necessities such as domestic energy will hurt. 

“However, the increases we are seeing now of around 11 to 15 per cent for electricity will really bite.

“The price increases in electricity for those households reliant on electric heating will have a big impact. This gives a strong message to the government that more effort is needed to assist households with limited access to heating or fuel types such as those off the gas grid. 

“Rural areas continue to need particular assistance to reduce levels of fuel poverty and the overall cost of living.

“We would encourage customers to find out from their energy supplier if they could make savings by moving to a different tariff or payment method.  In addition, it’s worth shopping around to check the best deals available that suit customers’ own circumstances.”

Elizabeth Gore, deputy director EAS said: “Households reliant on electric heating will be particularly worried about the effect this price increase will have on their ability to afford to keep warm at home and to run basic appliances such as a washing machine and fridge.

“There needs to be more transparency in general about why energy prices rise and fall so that government and others can design policies that have least impact on those who can least afford it.

“Once again the volatilities of the energy market highlight the importance of having supports in place to assist the most vulnerable and these include cross-industry initiatives such as the Warm Home Discount. 

“The news that SSE will open a new £5 million fund to support customers who may be most affected by this price increase is welcome and will make a practical difference to these customers.”

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