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Letters / ‘Why did it take so long for the penny to drop?’

Open letter to Beatrice Wishart MSP

Dear Ms Wishart,

I am surprised by the ‘sudden’ realisation that we are all getting screwed by certain electricity companies regarding our electricity costs and fuel poverty; why did it take so long for the penny to drop?

Twenty or so years ago, we decided to go ‘all electric’ with SSE; this suited our lifestyle, and with ‘off peak’ rates at about half the day tariff, all was well.

Over time, and particularly the last few years, the disparity in these rates narrowed greatly, with one year in particular resulting in a double increase in the ‘cheaper rate’, meaning that both day and night are now not that dissimilar. May I add I was livid, feeling completely duped after the initial hype.

My loyalty with SSE went out the window this year, with a move to Octopus Energy, giving us immediate benefits. All SSE/OVO customers should consider moving – you do not have to fit new meters contrary to what is rumoured.

My wife and I are fortunate in having decent pensions, but with those on a lower income, or those of a generation who went to the peat hill, and are now older or no longer physically able, these costs must be an absolute nightmare.

I was further annoyed that when SSE took over Viking, there begged a unique opportunity for the SIC to address fuel poverty, by pressuring the company to reduce rates so benefitting the whole Shetland community, with the promise of a works licence.

I see recent SSE profits are now running at around £2 to £3 million per day (after tax). Apparently, the community benefit is now to be £2.2 million per annum, a marked contrast to the research carried out by AB Associates in their socio-economic analysis carried out some ten years ago, concluding that ‘Shetland was likely to benefit by up to some £37 million pounds per annum over its 23-year operation’.

This meant the SIC were conned by the possibility of financial nirvana. Probable changes to the subsidy regime were simply not taken account of in the report resulting in wildly optimistic forecasts of income and the risks involved were ignored.

These risks are still present today and the Shetland Charitable Trust made a good decision when they decided to make no further investment in Viking Energy.

I also find it very interesting that the future promised £2.2 million annual payments to Shetland are only as a result of Scottish Government recommended good practice – that is really intriguing.

OFGEM should be made aware of real-life cases of fuel poverty – everyone falling into the category equates to a human household and not just a statistical number.

It now seems that they are following a ‘green’ agenda and that their priority is no longer value for money for consumers. Also, they are extremely reluctant to admit the true cost of the shift towards so-called ‘green energy’ for consumers. Green energy does not, in fact, come cheap and will increase energy poverty.

I am sure you will give this appalling situation top priority – what better work to raise your esteem in the electorate,

Alec Henry
Gott

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