Rural Fuel Poverty
Energy Action Scotland (EAS) acknowledges the particular difficulties faced by the fuel poor in rural areas. Higher fuel costs, lack of access to the mains gas grid, premiums on energy, a challenging housing stock and difficulty getting companies delivering energy efficiency measures to operate in some areas are a few of the difficulties faced.
Consumers in rural areas off the gas grid can pay significantly more for the same fuel sold in urban areas. EAS believes that the reason behind this discrepancy in price can be attributed, in some part, to the lack of regulation of most rural heating fuels. Regulation is therefore needed on domestic fuels such as heating oils, solid fuels, and LPG.
Housing stock in rural areas poses problems when it comes to tackling fuel poverty. Older, stone built houses with greater wall surface areas and poor to no insulation in often exposed areas mean retrofitting becomes challenging and expensive. However, it is for this very reason that EAS would urge that particular attention should be made in retrofitting these energy inefficient homes. Rural consumers are being hit by the dual problem of the most energy inefficient homes and the most expensive energy.
Rural premiums on energy bills can be a burden on those living in rural areas. EAS believes a consultation should take place regarding the distribution price control mechanism that can add or take away premiums on all consumers’ energy bills to ensure that no one group of consumers suffers unfairly.