“Ofgem must engage with the community over the future of Lerwick Power Station” says Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has today invited the Chairman and CEO of Ofgem to come to Shetland to explain their decision to the communities that will be affected by the proposed closure of Lerwick Power Station. The Ofgem proposal would see the site close in 2021, with the loss of 25 permanent jobs for the islands, leaving Shetland reliant on a 60MW subsea cable from Caithness, with back-up diesel power generators in Gremista.

Commenting, Alistair Carmichael said:

Our communities need answers about how this new solution will work in practice, and how reliable it will be. Many individuals will be concerned about the impact to electricity security if our communities are largely dependent on a subsea cable with only diesel generator backups in the event that is should break.

The Chief Executive and Chairman of Ofgem should come to Shetland to explain their proposal to the local people. I want them to engage with the community.  In particular I want to see them work closely with the local workforce and local businesses. This is a worrying time for the workforce who will be affected and they deserve the fullest attention from the regulator. It is some years since we saw anyone from Ofgem in Shetland so a visit from the Chair and Chief Executive is overdue.

We know that this proposal is at the consultation stage. People are rightly sceptical about what that means. I want a consultation that is meaningful and in which local voices will be heard and not ignored. We want a future solution that will be the best for the isles and not just the cheapest. The accountants and the economists should inform this decision but theirs must not be the final word.

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