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Hebrides News


MPs to  debate call for fair energy prices

15 March 2017

MPs will debate energy prices in the House of Commons on Thursday.


The Backbench Business Committee will vote over a motion which “deplores” the big six energy firms’ treatment of energy customers on default tariffs.


The motion also “calls on the industry, regulators and the government to consider solutions which recognise that many people lead busy lives and that switching their energy supplier may not always be a high priority."


Angus McCormack, chair of the Western Isles Poverty Action Group, said: "This discussion is very welcome and is long overdue.





“This government has said much about ensuring that prices levied - especially by the big six  - should be fair, but not a great deal has happened.”


He said the main electricity suppliers “acts is if it were a cartel” as each raise their prices in tandem.


“It is clear that the market does not work. This latest rise of 14.9% by SSE is quite staggering. Hundreds of consumers in the Western Isles will be thrown in to fuel poverty overnight. SSE just does not care.


"When you consider that island consumers already pay a 2p surcharge on every unit used, the effect in the islands will be severe.”


He hopes the Westminster government support initiatives for affordable electricity tariffs.


"In the meantime, the only weapon available to the consumer is to switch provider. Only one third of consumers ever do this and with good reason. It is not easy and takes a long time.


“Help is at hand. After months of lobbying by the poverty action group, the comhairle, supported by the Community Planning Partnership, has agreed that a service be set up in the Western Isles to assist consumers to switch providers.


“Further information on this service will be published soon. Hopefully the government and local action will relieve the pressure on island consumers."