The Highland Council is demanding urgent action to end the higher electricity costs paid by households in the north of Scotland, fearing that more are falling into fuel poverty.
He is writing to the UK government and energy regulator Ofgem asking for tariffs to be aligned with those in other regions.
It comes as hundreds of people signed the Courier’s petition – launched as part of our End The Chill campaign highlighting the fuel poverty crisis – calling for a level playing field with the rest of the UK.
Although the Highlands and Islands are a renewable energy powerhouse, all households pay more for their electricity due to outdated calculations.
It also has the worst fuel poverty rates in Scotland.
Aird and Loch Ness adviser David Fraser is a member of the task force set up after advisers agreed to pressure Ofgem and the UK government to take urgent action to tackle the charges higher.
Cllr Fraser explained that all domestic users north of the central belt – the coldest part of the UK – paid a 3% surcharge.
He said that although Ofgem has been examining the matter for three years, the body said it could not implement rapid changes.
“So something has to change and it has to be a change in policy on the part of the UK government to ensure that all domestic customers have the same fees regardless of where you live in the UK,” Cllr said. Fraser.
“They may still have competition between providers, but they have to offer UK wide rates, not regional ones.”
He acknowledged that persuading the government to make this problem a priority could be a difficult change, but it had to be resolved.
He also wanted any future agreement to be backdated to January 1, 2022 so that any overpayment would be refunded.
“It is an injustice that must be resolved,” he said.
“With the rise in energy prices, we must do everything to fight energy poverty. “
The Highlands are among the worst affected regions with 33 percent of all households living in fuel poverty and 22 percent considered living in extreme fuel poverty.
There have been stern warnings from a wide range of organizations that many more people will face a grim choice between eating or warming up this winter.
This comes against a backdrop of soaring energy costs, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has hit many household budgets and the removal of the £ 20 increase in universal credit payments.
Cllr Fraser praised the Courier for highlighting the region’s deepening energy poverty crisis and urged people to sign the petition and educate others.
“I am delighted that the Courier has included the issue of electricity costs as part of its End The Chill campaign,” he said.
To sign the petition, go to www.change.org/unfair-charges.
Courier launches a campaign to fight fuel poverty