Western Isles Poverty Action Group (WIPAG) has issued a call for a Social Tariff for the Outer Hebrides to help tackle high energy costs and resulting fuel poverty.
Following on from a recent meeting between the Comhairle and SSE to discuss electricity tariffs, at which WIPAG was represented, WIPAG has recognised SSE’s commitment to a UK universal and lower tariff in the future.
However, achieving such a tariff may take years and is of no immediate benefit to the 71% of households in the Outer Hebrides who are in Fuel Poverty.
WIPAG calls on SSE to introduce, with immediate effect, a Social Tariff for the Outer Hebrides. The case for such a tariff is irrefutable with evidence produced by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) and The Energy Advisory Service (TEAS) of the highest quality. SSE accept that the position in the Outer Hebrides is unacceptable. It is incumbent upon SSE to do all it can to ensure that almost three quarters of households in the Outer Hebrides do not spend another winter in fuel poverty.
WIPAG believes that Ofgem will not stand in the way of SSE when it decides to introduce the Social Tariff. As such, WIPAG says no reason why the tariff should not be introduced with immediate effect.
At the same time, given the UK government’s determination to roll out Smart Meters to all households by 2020, WIPAG is asking SSE to consider introducing Smart Meter technology as a pilot in the Outer Hebrides. Giving householders more control over energy consumption in their own homes will pay dividends and assist in reducing fuel poverty.