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Almost 1100 people sign Inverness Courier petition demanding UK government ends higher electricity charges in the Highlands and Islands which have worst fuel poverty rates in Scotland; Supporters denounce additional charges as outdated and unjust

By Val Sweeney

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The petition calls for an end to higher electricity prices in the Highlands and Islands.
The petition calls for an end to higher electricity prices in the Highlands and Islands.

Support is snowballing for the Courier's petition calling for an immediate end to unfair higher electricity charges in the Highlands and Islands.

The number has smashed through the 1000-signature mark and has now almost reached 1100.

Launched as part of our End The Chill campaign to highlight the region’s deepening fuel poverty crisis, the petition calls on the UK government to create a level pricing playing field.

It also comes amid stark warnings from a broad range of organisations that many more people in the region will face a bleak choice between eat or heat this winter.

Although the region generates more renewable electricity than it needs, all consumers in the north of Scotland are charged the highest unit price in the UK because of outdated calculations.

The petition has gained support from across the political spectrum while many people who have signed it have also added their comments, outlining their sense of frustration.

David Marshall stated: "The Highlands of Scotland create a large proportion of the electricity supplied to the grid, we more than hold our own through our hydro and wind schemes so it is only fair that this is demonstrated when it comes to paying for our electricity."

Rachel MacNeill said: "We need to have fair electricity costs in the Highlands and Islands. And as we generate the electricity here, it should cost less for us per unit."

Rural fuel poverty is frequently ignored, according to Sue Matthews.

"It's time power companies and government listened."

Ailsa Mackay commented: "I am a disabled pensioner with a very limited budget and bills are more than I can afford."

Shona Hutchinson described the situation as "totally unfair".

"I have solar power and feed to the grid, have had the cost of energy increased but my feed in tariff has stayed the same," she said.

The region exports 227 per cent more clean, green electricity to the National Grid than it requires to meet its own internal demand requirements.

But consumers in the north are still charged the highest unit price in the UK because the region's distribution and environmental-impact costs are still based on calculations from the coal-fired power era.

At the same time, the Highlands is among the worst-affected regions with 33 per cent of all households living in fuel poverty and 22 per cent deemed to be living in extreme fuel poverty,

It comes against a background of spiralling energy costs, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has hit many household budgets plus the removal of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit payments.

To sign the petition, go to www.change.org/unfair-charges.

Courier launches petition demanding end to unfair higher electricity charges

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