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SHEAP to be not so cheap

LERWICK’S pioneering district heating scheme is increasing its charges by around 17 per cent to keep in line with other energy providers.

The Shetland Charitable Trust-owned company supplied heat to 1,100 properties in the town, 100 of which are non-domestic buildings that consume 60 per cent of the available heat.

Trustees were told on Thursday that Shetland Heat, Energy and Power (SHEA) had made a profit of £315,000 last year, around £100,000 short of its target due to the unusually cold winter.

Trust financial controller Jeff Goddard said SHEAP had reached a “tipping point” where this year it was expected to return to the trust more money than it was investing for the first time in its 13 year history.

Mr Goddard said the trust was “reluctant” to increase charges, but that SHEAP heat cost between 20 and 40 per cent less than other providers.

Independent trustee Sir John Scott said it was “only right and proper” that the margin between what the “privileged group” receiving heat from SHEAP and everyone else should not become too wide.

The trust has invested more than £14 million in the Lerwick district heating scheme, which has reached its full capacity using heat generated from the town’s incinerator.

This year the trust expects to spend £300,000 on running SHEAP, a figure that is expected to reduce to £250,000 next year and £100,000 for ensuing years.