Energy price cap rise shock

Today OFGEM the energy regulator announced that the price cap which sets the average price for energy bills from utilities will rise from £1,277 to £1,971 a year for standard tariff customers and £1,309 to £2,017 a year for prepayment meter customers. This is a 54% increase in the price cap.

Since most residents in the Western Isles pay energy costs at above the price cap, often 30 – 50% higher, and we already suffer the highest level of extreme fuel poverty in Scotland, this will mean more local people will struggle to pay their bills.

It is essential that we in the community look after those who are struggling. Tighean Innse Gall, through the Gluasad Comhla principle of moving services together, work closely with CnES’s financial inclusion team, Home Energy Scotland, Macmillan Benefits and Western Isles Citizens Advice Service to target help so that if anyone needs support from one service they are assisted by others.

This help includes support through energy advice to cut bills, delivering energy efficiency support through the home energy efficiency programme on behalf of the Comhairle, applications for financial support for pre-payment meters, fuel debt alleviation, warm home discount applications, and small energy measures to help reduce energy use immediately.

Dan Morrison, TIG Energy Services Director said:

“We knew this was coming but even so the level of the increase is shocking. My team are on hand to help advise people and assess what help we can provide. TIG can help in many ways, so please get in touch”.

Stewart Wilson, TIG CEO said:

“As a Community Benefit Society, we raise funds for personal support, household upgrades and advice, which only a local agency like us, working in partnership with the community, can deliver. Our services are needed now more than ever, and we are grateful for the leadership in the Comhairle for their vision in helping to build up local assets like us over the past 30 years”.

CNES Leader Roddie Mackay said:

“Addressing Fuel Poverty is a key strategic aim for the Comhairle and we work closely with Tighean Innse Gall and partners to try and reduce the number of households in this position.  Steady progress has been made over the years, but given our geographical context and related weather conditions, the diversity and condition of our housing stock and the average wage level in the local economy, it is incredibly challenging to make significant progress.

The change to the energy price cap and the anticipated increase in fuel bills is going to negate most of the good work that has taken place and push more households into Fuel Poverty and Extreme Fuel Poverty.  Many households, in particular the elderly, are liable to find themselves in a totally unacceptable ‘eat or heat’ situation.”

Angus McCormack, Chair of the Western Isles Anti-Poverty Group said:

“I am deeply concerned at the implications of these increases. Coming on top of other price increases and reduced incomes this is an appalling situation and one which will lead to many in our communities struggling financially. We already have the highest fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty in Scotland. We know that there are unacceptable levels of child poverty in the Islands and Brexit and COVID have already made standards of living worse for many families. This latest blow will make matters even worse, and I would call on Government and all agencies to do what they can to mitigate the desperate plight that many people will face.”