Call for action on fuel poverty in the Islands

Following on from the recent meeting between the Comhairle and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to discuss electricity tariffs, at which Western Isles Poverty Action Group (WIPAG) was represented, SSE’s commitment to a UK universal and lower tariff in the future was recognised.

However achieving such a tariff may take years and is of no immediate benefit to the 71% of households in the Outer Hebrides who are in Fuel Poverty.

WIPAG calls on SSE to introduce, with immediate effect, a Social Tariff for the Outer Hebrides.

The case for such a tariff is backed with evidence produced by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) and The Energy Advisory Service (TEAS).

A statement from the poverty group says: “SSE accept that the position in the Outer Hebrides is unacceptable and it is incumbent on them to do all it can to ensure that almost three quarters of households in the Outer Hebrides do not spend another winter in fuel poverty.

“WIPAG believes that Ofgem will not stand in the way of SSE when it decides to introduce the Social Tariff and there is no reason why the tariff should not be introduced with immediate effect.

“SSE claims to have a social conscience. This is a simple and effective way of demonstrating that.

“At the same time, given the UK government’s determination to roll out Smart Meters to all households by 2020, WIPAG asks SSE to consider introducing Smart Meter technology as a pilot in the Outer Hebrides.

“Giving householders more control over energy consumption in their own homes will pay dividends and assist in reducing fuel poverty.”