Cautious welcome for SSE price freeze

Mike Weir
Mike Weir

Local MP Mike Weir has welcomed Scottish and Southern Energy’s recent announcement that energy prices will be frozen until January 2016.

Speaking during a debate on the energy market in the House of Commons, however, Mr Weir pointed out that not everyone will benefit equally.

He said: “Whilst we can all welcome a freeze on energy bills we should not get too carried away since far from everyone will benefit from such an action. The problem with a simple freeze is that whilst customers will not face price rises, a very good thing, if they happen to be on a less than wonderful tarrif they will continue to face higher energy bills than they need to since a freeze will have the effect of cementing into place existing inequalities.

“I have often made the point regarding those who are on pre payment meters who often face higher charges than others, as do those who pay by cash quarterly rather than by direct debit – these problems will remain in place and will still need to be tackled.”

Mr Weir, who is the SNP’s energy spokesman at Westminster, also noted that the freeze does not come without a cost, with the loss of 500 jobs and the company pulling out of three proposed offshore wind farm developments.

He added: “Many of us did warn that a simple price freeze would have the effect of endangering future investment which is urgently required. If we are to get prices down and keep them down in the future then we need to ensure that there is investment in renewables.”