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Monday, July 15, 2024

Local MP Drew Hendry Raises Highlands and Islands Standing Charges With Ofgem

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Local MP Drew Hendry and Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute, met with energy regulator Ofgem to talk about the Highland Energy Rebate Campaign after leading a debate on the matter in Parliament earlier this month.

At the meeting, he raised the high standing charges that people in the Highlands and Islands face.

In the meeting with Ofgem, Mr Hendry highlighted the fact that people in the Highlands and Islands pay over 50% higher electricity standing charges than charges in London, despite having higher bills due to a colder climate and living in an area that generates more wind and hydro power than anywhere else in the UK. 

The standing charge – the charge you pay every day regardless of how much energy you use – is currently under review by Ofgem. 

Energy regulator Ofgem is an independent government body who are responsible for setting the level of standing charges within the price cap. 

The price cap limits how much energy suppliers can then charge households. 

Mr Hendry launched the Highland Energy Rebate campaign in January as part of his ongoing work to tackle unfair energy pricing.

The proposal advocates for a rebate scheme for residents in the Highlands & Islands who contribute significantly to the UK’s renewable energy production.

It targets the imbalance in energy costs, particularly for those in off-grid areas who cannot access cheaper energy alternatives.

Mr Hendry welcomes the review into standing charges by Ofgem and is calling on the regulator to scrap standing charges completely, commenting:

“Ofgem has an opportunity to right this wrong in their review of standing charges.

“I met with them today to ensure they understand how these high standing charges impact households, unfairly penalising people on lower incomes and those looking to use less energy.

“It is vital that we see fair energy pricing implemented as soon as possible.

“The inequity is clear: people living in the Highlands and Islands face disproportionately high bills and fuel poverty despite living in an energy-rich region that produces up to six times the energy it uses through renewable sources.”

“It was an important step to take this issue directly to Ofgem, but there is an urgent need to address this inequality and create an energy market based on fairness.

“Introducing a Highland Energy Rebate alongside scrapping standing charges should be at the very top of the list.”

Ofgem is currently still reviewing standing charges and is yet to release a conclusive report on their findings.

The internal review comes after the charge more than doubled over the past two years. 

The Highland Energy Rebate campaign, which has gained widespread support from other stakeholders across the Highlands and Islands region, is ongoing. 

For further information on the Highland Energy Rebate campaign, including access to the report and petition, visit www.highlandenergyrebate.com

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