A special electricity tariff for the Western Isles has been launched today.
The initiative aims to offer cheaper rate compared to the dominant supplier in the
Islanders could save as much as 20% on their electricity bills it is anticipated,
having a significant impact on fuel poverty locally.
Pre-payment and total heating total control customers can also switch under the arrangement
with Hebrides Energy, a not-for-profit community interest company.
The scheme is led by key local agencies including Tighean Innse Gall, Hebridean Housing
Partnership, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, The Stornoway Trust and Community Energy
The collaboration with Our Power, an Edinburgh based supplier established by 35 Scottish
housing associations and local authorities - will promote a range of new Hebridean
It is hoped that the savings will represent a key step in the crusade to curb fuel
poverty, which now sees nearly 60% island homes struggling to afford energy bills
– one of the UK’s worst hit zones.
Any profits will be plied back into the company’s mission to tackle fuel poverty.
Hebrides Energy chairperson Carola Bell said: “This is a first-of its kind venture
for the islands and the team at Hebrides Energy has worked long and hard to get this
far. It’s a great pleasure to be working with Our Power, with their proven track
record and positive, community-centred ethos, and we hope that many islanders can
benefit from the new tariffs on offer.
“People living on the edge of the UK have all too often been penalized by higher
fuel prices and many aren’t aware that they are free to switch supplier,” she added.
“Hopefully this scheme will help to highlight this big industry issue and encourage
people to think about how they pay for energy, where their money is going and how
they can help their community move towards a more sustainable future.”
Switching is a short and simple process online or by phone and there are no exit
fees for those who wishing to return to their original energy provider.
Options are available for consumers on standard or Economy 7 meters and also offers
the new Hebridean “Take Control” tariff, a first of its kind alternative for customers
on restricted meter tariffs including night storage heating.
The partnership will also actively encourage the installation of smart meters so
that consumers can keep close tabs on energy use.
Our Power is a UK not-for–profit energy supplier which sources electricity on the
wholesale electricity market, bypassing the traditional ‘Big Six’ suppliers.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has led the scheme over the past few years
Donald Crichton, chairman of the council’s sustainable development committee, said:
Our Power’s social mission and competitive tariffs are a great match for our aspirations
to tackle fuel poverty, and we hope that local households will be encouraged to take
the first steps in switching energy supplier.”
Alister Steele from Our Power hailed it as a “ground breaking approach” to energy
supply in Scotland.
He added: “People in islands are treated unfairly by traditional energy suppliers
because of where they live, how they choose to pay and the type of tariff they are
offered. Many people don’t realise this is happening. As a not for profit supplier
we do things differently.
“It not uncommon these days for people to have to choose between heating and eating
and that is something that has to stop.”
Carola Bell of Hebrides Energy, Alister Steele from Our Power and Cllr Donald Crichton
launch the scheme