David Stewart MSP

Call for Action over Fuel Poverty

18 January 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has called for action to help the estimated 750,000 Scottish households living in fuel poverty.
He made his plea following his speech in the Scottish Parliament Debate on Electricity Market reform.
Mr Stewart said the costs of domestic heating oil to consumers was already sky high with huge mark-ups by distributors.
This is a particular problem in the Highlands and Islands.
He added: “The report this week by Save the Children concluded that families on low incomes are paying £1,300 more per year for basic goods and services, such as heating.
“This was a rise of more than 20% from the previous survey in 2007.
“The charity said about one fifth of the “poverty premium” came from fuel
bills alone.
“Why? Gas and electricity companies routinely charge more for repayments meters than direct debits. “Low income families are often forced to use repayment meters to manage their budgets.
“With expected rises in gas and electricity prices over next year, fuel poverty (defined as spending more than 10% of their household income on heating) will increase in Scotland.”
Mr Stewart went on: “Power giant Eon is increasing electricity charges by 9% next month.
“Yesterday’s Scotsman reported that critics such as EnergyShop.com felt, ‘energy suppliers are not taking chances with their profits and offloading the bulk of their increased costs on the consumer.’
The MSP welcomed Ofgem’s investigation into power companies’ charges for domestic customers, which are due in March.
However he stressed that with 2011 only in its infancy poor consumers have been under siege by Christmas price hikes and the new year VAT increases.
Mr Stewart said, “We know from studies by Consumer Focus Scotland that 750,000 households are living in fuel poverty.
“Heating a home is a necessity, not a luxury.
“I would strongly support vigorously adopting the new European Union legislation to allow Ofgem to force the big six energy suppliers to disclose the price they pay for energy.”

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Written by davidstewart

January 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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