SHETLAND’s political representatives have written to energy regulator Ofgem about the rise in the price cap from April – with concern raised over the impact of those living in fuel poverty in the Northern Isles.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart and Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael’s letter follows a series of meetings with Ofgem in recent weeks raising local concerns about price rises and problems with the behaviour of energy suppliers.
Regulator Ofgem has announced that the price cap for default domestic energy deals would be raised to cover suppliers’ extra costs.
The price cap is designed to protect consumers who have not switched energy supplier by ensuring they pay a fair price for their electricity and gas.
For six months from 1 April the price cap will increase by £96 to £1,138 for 11 million default tariff customers, and by £87 to £1,156 for four million pre-payment meter customers.
Ofgem said the price cap is increasing to pre-pandemic levels as wholesale prices have risen.
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.”
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.”
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