SNP MP Ian Blackford has called on the UK government to introduce a common market for electricity distribution across the UK in a bid to tackle fuel poverty and stop customers in places like the Highlands paying a premium on their energy bills.
The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, whose constituents are hit with higher prices than other parts of the UK, called for the 14 energy markets in the UK to be abolished in favour of one single electricity distribution market.
Blackford said: “It is utterly shameful that in 2017 we have thousands of households in Scotland – an energy rich nation – that are unable to heat their homes or afford energy bills.
“Around 34% of Scottish households are in fuel poverty while the figure is 56% for the Highlands, 59% for Western Isles / Eilean Siar and 65% for Orkney.
“It is completely unacceptable that more than half of households in the Highlands and almost two thirds of households in Orkney are living in fuel poverty.
“We have a universal market for postal delivery across the UK, among many other markets, which means you pay the same price to post a letter in Skye as you do in Somerset, Ardnamurchan to Avon and Gairloch to Gloucester.
“But we do not have the same universal market for electricity distribution charges.
“The Scottish Parliament has no control over regulation and pricing of energy markets and we must see action from the UK government on the creation of a universal market for electricity distribution – people should not be penalised because of where they live and we should be looking to introduce equity and fairness to our energy market.”