Atomic splitters

I NOTED Murdo Fraser’s comments on energy policy (Letters, 21 August).

He seems to ignore the fact that management of the electricity supply system was supposed to be operated and controlled on a UK-wide basis from London in order to guarantee an economic security of supply to all consumers, with the taxpayer-funded grid being the conduit to achieve this. 

Clearly, there now exists major failures both in policy and management to which the effective operation of the central grid is apparently the key. Power stations in Scotland are to be closed, while a disastrous contract for a non-working and dated French EPR nuclear reactor design for Hinkley Point C has been made in Whitehall.

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Rushed contracts have been concluded to import expensive foreign electricity from Europe from 2016 instead of using electricity generated in Scotland, in order to try to avoid power cuts and to keep the lights on in England. 

Meanwhile, Scottish consumers are to be penalised by an estimated levy on their electricity bills of more than £200 a year to pay for Hinkley C, notwithstanding further likely hikes in electricity prices as a consequence of the European imports, making the cost to us of this failed energy policy worse than any poll tax. 

We can only look forward to an increase in fuel poverty in Scotland, already estimated to affect 700,000 people, as more than 50 per cent of our heating is dependent on electricity. 
This is not only a failure in energy policy and security of supply; it is a failure in economic policy of a most fundamental nature.

If there is a cold winter in Europe, it is likely that electricity imports from the European surplus will not materialise as there will be no surplus. There will be power cuts in UK with the risk of substantial economic losses and even civil unrest. 

Meanwhile, if Hinkley C construction does proceed despite current valid European Union state aid objections, what confidence can anyone have that it will succeed in generating when all the six previous reactors of this design have never worked? Areva, the company involved, declared €4.8 billion losses for 2014, greatly in excess of its capitalisation. The latest EPR reactor Areva is building in France is five years late, more than three times its original budget, and has recently had all its steel condemned by the French nuclear inspectorate. Hinkley Point C steel is apparently to be sourced from the same supplier. 

The issue of economic and secure electricity generation now appears so serious it could split the Union.

Why should Scots be grotesquely penalised for such incompetent economic management when our energy economy, including our wind and marine energy, should make us the power house of UK? Mr Fraser needs to give his Department of Energy and Climate Change colleagues a reality check and soon. 

Elizabeth Marshall

Western Harbour Midway