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Energy / Energy forum will allow public chance to raise concerns

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A FORUM will be held next week to allow local people the chance to raise any issues they have with energy provision

The drop-in event, taking place at Islesburgh in Lerwick from 1pm to 1.45pm on Friday 25 August, will be hosted Shetland political representatives, Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP.

Representatives from OVO and Scottish Power have been invited to the islands to help address individual enquiries, while customers from other energy providers will also be welcome to raise issues with Wishart and Carmichael on the day who will in turn pass those representations to the respective companies.

It comes as Shetland continues to face high levels of fuel poverty – despite having a hand in the oil and gas industry, and hosting the under-construction Viking Energy wind farm.

The format of the energy forum will be slightly different to previous ‘Digital Forums’, with there being a public drop-in and separate roundtable meeting of industry and local stakeholders.

This follows the work of both representatives pressing energy issues islanders raised with them in both Holyrood and Westminster, including issues with the UK’s energy support scheme this past winter.

Wishart commented: “It is welcome that OVO and Scottish Power, as well as other stakeholders, are taking the time to come here to speak about matters facing Shetland and address individual issues. The cost of living crisis and soaring energy bills has made any issue in energy provision a heavy weight on people’s minds.

“Shetland’s geography raises unique challenges for energy provision such as establishing technology networks for smart meters, a cooler and windier climate than other parts of the UK and travel time requirements limiting mainland engineers’ ability to complete work across the isles.”

Carmichael added: “This forum will be an important opportunity to raise concerns people have about their energy bills as we approach winter again.

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“Whether you are an OVO or Scottish Power customer or not, if you have questions you would like to raise then please come along – we will do our best to help.

“We have to hope that this winter will not see energy prices reach the levels seen last year – even so we all need to work together to protect struggling families. That is a responsibility for energy companies but also for our governments – an issue I will be pressing again when Parliament returns from its summer recess.”

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