The recent cold snap brought home the energy crisis. Those with smart meters saw costs rising before their very eyes. For many it was frightening and for some sadly just unaffordable.
Those feeling the pressures aren’t restricted to those on basic pensions or state benefits. They’ve always been vulnerable. In recent years these been joined in poverty, by those working but unable to earn enough to survive.
Now there’s yet another category and who previously whilst facing challenges never considered they’d be facing this plight. As many who’ve bought their home, and with limited council houses there’s no alternative, now have the triple whammy of rising mortgage rates, increased fuel costs and escalating costs of living. All whilst wages don’t keep pace. This crisis is being faced by the many not the few.
Last week in Parliament I spoke in a debate about “self-disconnection” in energy. It’s a phrase that’s only recently entered our lexicon. But the euphemism masks the reality. It’s similar to terrorists talking of “legitimate targets” or army’s of “collateral damage” when what they meant were the murder of innocents.
Now “self-disconnection” doesn’t mean folk are switching off to save for a sunshine holiday. It simply means they can’t heat their home or even access power for utilities such as the washing machine, charging their phone or even medical equipment. Yet again weasel words mask the real horror. But it’s what’s now faced by many, and in modern private housing estates, as well as deprived council estates.
In an energy rich country that’s simply perverse. This isn’t down to Putin. It’s a systemic fault in the UK energy market. Privatisation has seen big corporations reap huge profits and yet cheap Scottish renewable electricity’s sold at prices pegged to expensive European gas. It’s nuts.
We’ve also got the absurdity of state energy companies operating Scottish offshore windfarms but they’re from Sweden, Norway, Ireland, France, China and the UAE not our own. Profits should be staying in our country not going abroad and the energy available should be available to our people at affordable prices. Scotland deserves better than this.