Alison Thewliss, the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central, has condemned the Government over rising energy bills across the country.

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Thewliss questioned the Prime Minister on whether it was the UK Government’s incompetence or Ofgem’s lack of power that has meant bills are continuing to skyrocket.

In his response, the Prime Minister was unable to provide an answer on why constituents are continuing to be hit hard by these rising costs.

Several Glasgow Central constituents have been in contact with Thewliss on this matter.

In an email to the Department for Net Zero and Energy Security in January of this year regarding the issues being faced by constituents, Thewliss said:

“While the energy price cap is set at 7p p/kw for residential properties as of 1st January 2024, the residents of Riverside Dalmarnock, which is equipped with an in-house communal heating system operated by Switch2, are paying 14.24p p/kw.

“Switch2 have clarified many times that their revenue on the heating system is derived entirely from the standing operating charge and not from the cost of energy, which is passed on by Switch2 to the customer from the supplier at cost of purchase.

“As such, my constituents continue to pay significantly above the intended energy price cap to heat their homes, in a system designed to be more energy-efficient than traditional heating. This problem has persisted throughout the cost of energy crisis and UK Government support has not successfully addressed this matter, repeatedly failing the residents of Riverside Dalmarnock.

“To that effect, I would be interested in hearing from you as to what steps the UK Government is taking to tackle this problem, in light of its commitment to shield all households from spiralling energy costs, and what particular support it may offer to my constituents on communal heat networks. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this subject in greater detail if that were of any interest.”

In their response, the Department for Net Zero and Energy Security said:

“The Energy Act 2023 has now passed into law and will provide us with powers to regulate the heat networks sector and appoint Ofgem as regulator. The Act gives ministers powers to introduce consumer protection rules and carbon emissions limits on heat networks.

“The legislation will give Ofgem powers to investigate and intervene on networks where prices for consumers appear to be unfair, or if prices are significantly higher than comparable heating systems. Our ambition is that consumer protections will start to be regulated from Spring 2025 with price regulation beginning Spring 2026.”

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“It is completely unacceptable that my constituents need to wait until Spring of 2026 before any action is taken to halt the soaring cost of energy bills. A number of constituents in Dalmarnock served by an unregulated communal heat network have been in touch, experiencing severe financial worry, yet it seems that the UK Government and the powerless energy regulator Ofgem are just standing back and letting it happen.

“I asked the Prime Minister today whether it was the Government’s incompetency or Ofgem’s lack of powers that have caused these rising bills. His inability to provide an answer highlights the blatant disregard the UK Government has shown to these vulnerable constituents.

“In energy-rich Scotland, nobody should be forced to choose between heating their own home or putting food on the table. We must have full control over energy to ensure our people are not left in the cold this winter.”

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