Subsea cable work will push up prices in Highlands and islands
be reflected in electricity bills across the region.
Representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar attended a consultation held by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution last week to raise concerns about the added charges, as the region already has the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country.
Alasdair Macleod, chairman of the comhairle’s sustainable development committee, said: ‘It was hugely concerning to hear about these new policies, the potential costs arising from them and the fact that consumers in the Outer Hebrides and the north of Scotland will have to pick up the cost.
‘Electricity bills in the Outer Hebrides are already excessive and further costs will simply push people further into fuel poverty.
‘Fuel poverty levels in the Outer Hebrides presently stand at 71 per cent and additional costs on bills will only further exacerbate this.’
A spokesman for SSE confirmed a change in the way electricity cables are laid and protected would mean higher costs: ‘These policies may require us to change our longestablished approach.
‘Such a change would require significant additional capital expenditure, which will ultimately be paid for by electricity consumers on the Scottish islands and across the north of Scotland under current arrangements.’
A Scottish government spokesperson was unavailable for comment on the plan, but a statement was released on Monday which said £224 million is to be invested in insulation to reduce fuel poverty across the country.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘Nothing is more important to me than responding to the real pressures that individuals and families across Scotland face.
‘Through this scheme, the Scottish government will deliver the best possible help to thousands of people blighted by fuel poverty, struggling to keep their homes warm and pay their energy bills.’