With households in the Outer Hebrides experiencing the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK, supporting consumers to reduce their energy costs is a key strand of the approach local agencies are taking to tackling fuel poverty.
Tighean Innse Gall and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are this week sending out a survey to all households in the Outer Hebrides to find out more about electricity usage among local residents and whether they would be interested in switching supplier. This follows on from a successful fuel poverty survey carried out in 2013.
Respondents have the opportunity to win up to £150 in Co-op Vouchers, LED Light Bulbs to the value of £100, or £50 Co-op Vouchers
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and Tighean Innse Gall are working with various partners, including the Hebridean Housing Partnership, The Stornoway Trust and Community Energy Scotland to create a community owned Energy Supply Company (ESCO) with the ability to supply electricity to all households and businesses of the Outer Hebrides. The information gathered by the questionnaire will help with the development of a Business Plan for the Energy Supply Company.
Comhairle Leader, Angus Campbell, said, ‘We want to find out more from potential customers in relation to our plans for local electricity supply: are Western Isles residents interested in switching, have they switched in the past or are have they faced any barriers in doing so. This information won’t just support Business Planning for the ESCO but will also help us to understand more about fuel poverty in the Outer Hebrides and the opportunities that exist in the long term for linking local energy generation to consumption.’
Stewart Wilson, Director, Tighean Innse Gall, commented, ‘Tighean Innse Gall is committed to reducing fuel poverty for residents of the Outer Hebrides. The Community owned ESCO is an opportunity to provide cheaper electricity and to use locally generated energy. It is important for the development of the Business Plan that we gather as much data as possible relating to peoples’ energy consumption and we would encourage everyone to return the survey to us. If you would rather complete an online survey please go to www.tighean.co.uk All surveys completed and returned to us before the 27th of February will be entered into the prize draw.’
The development of the Outer Hebrides Energy Supply Company has received funding through the Scottish Government’s CARES Infrastructure and Innovation fund.
The progression of the Outer Hebrides Energy Supply Company is one of three areas of activity which the Comhairle is progressing as a result of its involvement in the Intelligent Energy Europe ‘BEAST’ project (Beyond Energy Action Strategies). The BEAST project runs from April 2014 to October 2016 and, along with the Outer Hebrides, includes partners from Sweden, the Canaries, Cyprus, Croatia, Italy, Latvia and Norway