Cost of Living: Call for UK government to 'do more' as Scotland 'hardest hit' by energy grid charges

The SNP claims the UK Government is “doing nothing to cushion the blow” for Scots as Scotland faces the highest grid charges in Europe, according to energy experts.

Scotland faces energy transmission charges of £7.36 per mega watt hour - 16 times the European average, according to analysis from the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group.

In comparison, England faces a charge of £4.70 whilst countries such as Germany and the Netherlands face no charge.

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A 1GW offshore windfarm off the Scottish coast will pay £38m a year compared to a 1GW windfarm in the south east of England which will pay £7m a year.

1GW offshore windfarm off the Scottish coast will pay £38m a year compared to a 1GW windfarm in the south east of England which will get paid £7m a year (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP).

Talking about the impact “premium” grid charges have on Scots during the cost of living crisis, Frazer Scott from Energy Action Scotland said: “Without a doubt, it does impact on us because we are fundamentally baking into the basic components higher charges which are ultimately passed on to consumers.

"It’s regressive because it’s built onto everyone’s tariffs onto a near equal basis so therefore people on the lowest incomes are disproportionately affected because these costs are static on their bill – they are unavoidable.

"If you are on some of the lowest incomes, you have to spend something like £7 a week to not actually use any energy – it’s just for the ‘privilege’ of potentially accessing electricity or gas.”

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Scotland faces energy transmission charges of £7.36 per mega watt hour- 16 times the European average, according to analysis from the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (Photo: RIDG).

Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, said many constituents contacted her to express their “devastation” at grid charges and their “survival” concerns amidst the crisis.

The MP said: "Given how much renewable energy Scotland produces it beggars belief we are facing such huge charges.

"The way energy in Scotland has been treated by the UK government is an insult.

"Without powers, we [the Scottish Government] cannot put in place the policy and I feel I’m working with my hands tied behind my back.”

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During Prime Minister’s Questions this week, SNP MP Carol Monaghan asked the Prime Minister to explain why Scotland’s renewable sector is “being punished” with grid connection charges.

Mr Johnson said Scotland’s renewable sector is “world-leading”, adding: “What we need to do is make sure we have a grid that enables us to take that electricity onshore and transmit it around the country and that is what I’ll be setting out in the British Energy Security Strategy - that is the long term investment this country needs.”

Alan Brown MP, SNP Energy spokesperson at Westminster, said Westminster is “doing nothing to cushion the blow” as Scotland is being “unfairly penalised”.

He said: “We found out just this week Scotland will be hardest hit by a rise to standing charges for electricity bills and we have one of the highest proportions of households off the grid due remote living, who are set to pay up to four times higher energy bills than the average household.”

The Scottish Government has launched a £4 million Home Heating Support Fund, up-rated benefits by six per cent and more than doubled the Scottish Child Payment to put money in people’s pockets.

But Mr Scott said the Scottish Government could “do a lot more” to help families affected by the energy crisis.

He said it could focus more on a drive to insulate Scottish homes and focus on a targeted approach to ensure those on the lowest income are supported.

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