Consumers have again seen energy bills rise at an eye-watering rate, just in time for the onset of cold winter weather. While central government flounders around trying to rein in the profiteering of the “Big 6”, Scottish Greens offer a real solution to help consumers get the energy they need in clear and fair manner.
At this yearʼs Conference, Scottish Greens backed the abolition of multi-tiered energy billing and electricity standing charges.
Currently the majority of electricity customers pay a number of different rates for their electricity. In most cases this takes the form of a high priced rate for the first volume of electricity used, reducing to lower rates for further usage. In other cases it takes the form of a standing charge.
This clearly leads to a situation where using large quantities of electricity is proportionally cheaper, and effectively means that smaller consumers are subsidising larger consumers. Those who use least, or can least afford electricity, are penalised by the high initial price rates or standing charges. Unlike other goods there are no obvious savings to the supplier of customers buying in bulk, nor extra costs involved in supplying smaller volumes, particularly as we move to smart metering where meters are read automatically.
Further, the current system also penalises those individuals, businesses and community groups who have taken the responsibility to generate some of their own electricity through small scale renewable energy projects, as the small amount of electricity they may subsequently need as a top-up from the national grid is paid at a high rate or is subject to a standing charge.
Abolishing this practice and levelling the rates of electricity, will reduce the burden on those who can least afford it, and will make billing far clearer, and fairer, for all consumers.
“Everyone can see that the energy market does not function in a transparent and free manner, and certainly not in the interests of consumers”, stated Moray Greens Convenor, James MacKessack-Leitch. “By failing to take on the big energy companies, central government condemns the most vulnerable in society to make the choice between heating and eating, and penalises those who take the responsibility to generate their own energy. While others will try to fix something that obviously does not work, only the Scottish Greens have the vision, and will, to fundamentally change the system.”