The Prime Minister has come under attack for soaring Scottish energy costs after Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands took the opportunity to urge reductions in electricity standing charges.
After coming first in the ballot for Prime Minister’s Questions, the SNP man used the opportunity to ask the PM why Scots continue to pay sky-high electricity bills – while customers in London pay the lowest.
Standing charges in Central Scotland sit at 62.1p per day, while billpayers in Greater London pay 38.5p – a 61% premium for Scots, meaning every households in Scotland is forking out over £200 for their electricity connection before single light is turned on.
Generation in Scotland is also penalised as connection charges from power stations and wind farms are among the highest in Europe, meaning renewables pay a penalty compared to stations in the south of England.
Meanwhile, last year saw Scotland export over £4 billion worth of electricity to the rest of the UK, as 19,000 gigawatt hours was transferred through the grid in 2022.
With temperatures plummeting heading into winter, the risk of increased fuel poverty is growing as energy bills stay high after two years of massive profit taking by energy companies.
And with no sign of any financial help with energy costs for households from the UK, calls are growing for the Westminster Government to introduce emergency measures to support billpayers this winter.
Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, Gavin said: “The Prime Minister failed to address the concerns of million of people in Scotland who are facing another winter of sky-high bills while power is exported through the grid to heat homes elsewhere.
“It is nothing short of scandalous that in an energy rich country like Scotland we have thousands of people who are afraid to put their heating or lighting on because they fear the bill coming through the door.
“This is a wealthy nation, rich in natural resources, but we are expected to pay through the nose for standing charges before a single switch has been flicked on, while the wealthiest part of the UK enjoys bargain basement daily fees.
“And our record renewable generation is penalised through exorbitant transmission fees charged by the grid and set by the government’s own regulator.
“We have some of the highest electricity costs in Europe, paying five times as much as Norway as a proportion of average earnings, despite the wealth of renewable energy we have at our disposal and are expanding.
“Since privatisation the energy market has been a disaster for consumers under successive Labour and Tory governments, with billions of pounds stripped from billpayers and handed over to shareholders.
“We need better regulation of the big energy companies and the amounts they are allowed to charge to give a fairer deal to households who shouldn’t have to choose between heating and eating.”