Power giant ‘must do more’ say representatives

SSE must do more to reduce the 2p per unit surcharge being paid by electricity consumers in the Highlands and islands.

That was the call from a delegation from the area who were meeting representatives of the power company today (Friday) at the firm’s headquarters in Perth.

The Highlands and Islands representatives also asked that SSE look into strengthening the Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme which was originally designed to equalise prices across the UK but is now way below the amount brought in by the 2p surcharge.

Angus McCormack of the Western Isles Poverty Action Group said it was disappointing that SSE’s Chief Executive did not meet with them, but they had asked the company representatives to explore further what could be done to reduce prices in the Highlands and Islands, where many people are in fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty.

He said: “It is ridiculous that in an area which actually produces clean electricity that people are genuinely living in hardship and not being able to properly heat their homes.

“For a company that made £1.5bn pounds of profit last year to effectively wash their hands of this is unacceptable. We would ask SSE to take this matter seriously and do something from their own vast resources for their customers in the Highlands and Islands.”

The Highlands and Islands delegation consisted of Mr McCormack, John Maciver of Hebridean Housing Partnership, Donnie Mackay from Skye and Lochalsh Housing Association and Di Alexander from Lochaber Housing Association.

An SSE Spokesperson said: “We had a productive meeting where we discussed how we can work together to support those living in fuel poverty. SSE is keen to work closely with the groups going forward and share SSE’s expertise, ensure more people are aware of all measures available to those who may be worried about their energy bills.

“SSE also discussed the extensive work its carried out to make the case for national pricing with Ofgem, DECC, the Scottish Government and the Competition and Markets Authority. This is an industry wide issue and requires an industry wide solution and we urged those present to support us in making the case for moving to national pricing which will be a simpler and fairer way forward.”