Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has taken up the cause of a growing number of constituents angry about forthcoming rises in the costs of electricity.
Mrs Grant has written to industry regulator Ofgem and the Office of Fair Trading after being contacted by customers facing above-average increases in their bills from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).
Prices are due to rise on October 15, and while SSE – the parent company of Scottish Hydro Electric – has estimated that customers on the company’s dual fuel tariff will see an average increase of nine per cent, many people in remote and rural areas face considerably steeper rises in electricity costs.
We’ve already reported on one such customer – Tom Cromack, who lives in Kilchattan Bay on Bute and is on SSE’s Total Heating Total Control tariff.
Mr Cromack was originally told by SSE that his bill would go up by 21 per cent, though that has since been revised to a still eye-watering 18.3 per cent. (Click on the link to the right of this story to read our original article in full.)
Mrs Grant said: “SSE say the average price increase for dual fuel customers will be around nine per cent.
“However many customers from throughout the Highlands and Islands cannot access the main gas network and face increases well above nine per cent.
“One of my constituents in the Western Isles (who can only access electricity) is facing an increase of around 11.17 per cent, while another in Argyll and Bute is facing a staggering 18.3 per cent increase for his ‘Total Heating Total Control’ tariff.
“It is grossly unfair that customers who cannot access gas, through no fault of their own, are being hit harder than those customers who can access dual fuel and I have raised the matter with Ofgem.
“I have also written to the Office of Fair Trading as it seems SSE has a monopoly on the Total Heating Total Control tariff, with customers on this tariff being disproportionately penalised.”