This increase, along with similar increases by some other energy companies, will hit households that rely on electric heating particularly hard.
Already ScottishPower has said it is increasing its standard electricity prices by an average of 10.8 per cent, EDF has increased its electricity prices by 8.4 per cent, and npower will raise its standard electricity prices by 15 per cent. Meanwhile gas price increases are around the 4.5 per cent mark.
According to the Scottish Government’s figures, 12 per cent [see Table 5] of Scottish households (284,000) rely on electricity as their main source of heating. Many of these households are likely to be off the gas grid and so will have a more limited choice of heating types. Often properties in rural areas have no access to mains gas. Figures [see Table 4] show that 16 per cent of Scottish households are off the gas grid and of these, 63 per cent are in rural areas.
Norman Kerr, Director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland said: “For people struggling to make ends meet, any prices rises for basic necessities such as domestic energy will hurt. However, the increases we are seeing now of around 11 to 15 per cent for electricity will really bite.
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“The price increases in electricity for those households reliant on electric heating will have a big impact. This gives a strong message to the government that more effort is needed to assist households with limited access to heating or fuel types such as those off the gas grid. Rural areas continue to need particular assistance to reduce levels of fuel poverty and the overall cost of living.
“We would encourage customers to find out from their energy supplier if they could make savings by moving to a different tariff or payment method. In addition, it’s worth shopping around to check the best deals available that suit customers’ own circumstances.”