Western Isles householders currently paying above average-prices for electricity can now benefit from fairer tariffs – and help bring money back into the community too – thanks to a community-led scheme launched yesterday.
Hebrides Energy – a not-for-profit community interest company led by key local agencies including Tighean Innse Gall, Hebridean Housing Partnership, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Stornoway Trust – has teamed up with Edinburgh-based Our Power to provide a range of new Hebridean Tariffs to the local market.
It is hoped that the savings offered by Our Power, in partnership with Hebrides Energy, will represent a key step in the crusade to curb fuel poverty, which now sees nearly 60 percent of Island homes struggling to afford energy bills – one of the UK’s worst hit zones.
The range of new tariffs on offer will cater for both Standard and Restricted meter customers, meaning that virtually every island home can opt to join. Any profits will be plied back into the company’s mission to tackle fuel poverty.
Hebrides Energy hopes that it might one day become a supply company in its own right, selling renewable energy generated locally, and helping the islands move towards a sustainable future.
Carola Bell, Chairman, Hebrides Energy, said: “This is a first-of its kind venture for the islands and the team at Hebrides Energy has worked long and hard to get this far.
“It’s a great pleasure to be working with Our Power, with their proven track record and positive, community-centred ethos, and we hope that many islanders can benefit from the new tariffs on offer.
“People living on the edge of the UK have all too often been penalised by higher fuel prices and many aren’t aware that they are free to switch supplier.
“Hopefully this scheme will help to highlight this big industry issue and encourage people to think about how they pay for energy, where their money is going and how they can help their community move towards a more sustainable future.”
Our Power, in partnership with Hebrides Energy, offers clearly defined tariffs at competitive rates, promising savings as well as a good ethical choice. It is anticipated that some islanders could save as much as 20 percent on their electricity bills, having a significant impact on fuel poverty locally.
Switching to a Hebrides Energy tariff is a short and simple process online or by phone and there are no exit fees for those who wishing to return to their original energy provider.
The company provides options for consumers on Standard or Economy 7 meters and also offers the new Hebridean “Take Control” tariff, a first of its kind alternative for customers on restricted meter tariffs including many Social Housing Tenants and households that rely on night storage heating. The partnership will also actively encourage the installation of smart meters so that consumers can keep close tabs on energy use.
Our Power sources electricity on the wholesale electricity market, by-passing the market-dominant ‘Big Six’ suppliers.
A spokesman for Tighean Innse Gall, said: “Switching can seem like a scary and confusing process, however TIG staff are here to help people through the process so they can choose the tariff that’s right for them.”
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan (SNP) said: “It’s good to see so many organisations working together in the islands to help address one of the islands’ biggest problems – fuel poverty.
“Anything that makes the islands a more affordable place to live over the winter has to be a good thing. I hope that this initiative will show other scattered rural communities in Scotland that there are practical ways for people to help keep winter fuel bills down.”
7 Mar 2018