Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart and Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, have written to the Chief Executive of Ofgem in response to today’s announcement of a rise in the energy price cap from April. In the letter Ms Wishart and Mr Carmichael highlight their concerns about the impact of the rise on those suffering from fuel poverty in the Northern Isles, and call for specific measures on the part of Ofgem to take into account the unique factors affecting islanders.
The letter follows a series of meetings between the representatives and Ofgem in recent weeks raising local concerns about price rises and problems with the behaviour of energy suppliers.
Commenting on the letter, Ms Wishart said:
“Ofgem may have a national remit but the unique challenges we face in the isles require a unique policy response. Ofgem’s “solution” to the price hike of switching suppliers is no solution at all when we have warned them repeatedly about constituents who have been told by their suppliers that they cannot switch.
“The issue is still worse for those in energy debt who are therefore unable to switch as a result of fuel poverty. The Council has been working hard on these issues with initiatives like the Shetland Partnership Plan – Ofgem needs to meet us in the middle and start thinking about its role in tackling the scourge of isles fuel poverty.”
Mr Carmichael added:
“We know that the Northern Isles persistently have some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country – Ofgem needs to reflect on its role in ending this problem for good as a significant rise in the energy price cap does us no favours.
“In the meantime we are still pressing for resolution to the problems we have already raised on behalf of our constituents. With the route out of the pandemic still far from clear, a little more thought from Ofgem about the impact of these changes on those suffering the worst from fuel poverty would go a long way.”