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Scottish independence ‘would lead to higher energy bills’

Experts warn of ramifications of supply security issues

ConsumerFocus Logo ScotlandHigher energy bills and poorer energy security would be two of the major side-effects of Scotland gaining independence from the UK, experts have warned.

Research carried out by the David Hume Institute at the University of Edinburgh indicates that the economic effect of Scottish independence would be more significant than many people have presumed, particularly in the energy sector, where household bills would be substantially impacted.

In one paper, Consumer Focus Scotland says that although a third of renewable energy in the UK is generated in Scotland, it is subsidised by all British consumers, which accounts for around £37 a year per bill.

Bills bearing the brunt

Without the rest of the UK subsiding this, Scottish consumers’ energy bills would take the hit, and this would not be the only drawback of independence, the research indicates.

A study carried out by experts at Strathclyde University suggests that if Scotland attempted to ensure security solely through Scottish capacity, the financial ramifications would be great.

“From the perspective of the UK as a whole this would be an extraordinarily inefficient way of achieving security of supply,” the Express reports the study as saying.

Further problems

Another problem, according to Consumer Focus, could be British consumers’ willingness to pay for Scottish ­renewables, as Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has previously expressed his intention to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scottish consumers’ consumption from renewables by 2020.

The Consumer Focus study adds: “There could be political concerns that consumers in England and Wales were continuing to subsidise renewable energy generation in Scotland.”

Decreased investor confidence could be a further knock-on effect, which would increase the cost of future investment and mean Scottish consumers subsidised this through their energy bills, the report concluded.

There is some way to go before a decision is made on whether Scotland will gain independence from the UK, but the potential knock-on effect on energy bills will be a bone of contention for members of the public affected by the move.

  • Scotland exports energy to the rest of the UK, which would offset the loss of the UK’s input into this sector.

  • There is a lot of words like “could” and “potential” used in this article. Nothing is certain in an independent Scotland. But if we export energy to the rest of the UK it stands to reason that we will still export it if we go for independence.

  • CP

    An increase in energy prices is going to happen with or without Scottish independence. The difference being that with a fully elected Scottish government we would have the controls to manage these rising cost’s in a manner most suited to Scotland’s interests.

    Some quotes from recent articles relating to an increase in household energy bills under this current government.

    “The government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme could result in yearly household energy bills rising by £100” – Ruth Bradshaw.

    “The billions needed to fund the government’s ambitious plans to boost UK
    infrastructure will be paid for by the public through increased energy
    bills, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has claimed.” – Ruth Bradshaw.

  • Stuboi

    Sounds like more assertions.. Oil rich green energy rich Scotland will be selling electricity to r-uk. More unionist myths and scare mongering. Vote yes