Local News for Thursday 9th August 2018

Citizens Advice Scotland (C.A.S) this week published their latest report ‘Pylons, Pipes and People: Energy networks in Scotland and their changing role with consumers’.
Publishing the report, CAS energy spokesman Jamie Stewart said,
‘This research highlights the fact that the two Scottish electricity DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) are lagging behind in terms of their support for vulnerable consumers.
‘Each year, the energy regulator Ofgem ranks the electricity distribution companies across the Country according to their support for vulnerable consumers, In 2016-17 the Scottish electricity distribution companies were at the bottom of the table.

"We recognise that the Scottish DNOs – SSEN and SPEN - have invested in a number of valuable programmes to support consumers over the years. However, we suggest that Scottish DNOs should increase the reach of programmes for vulnerable consumers. We think this is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable in society do not miss out on support in comparison to other parts of Great Britain.
“Our research also states the importance of ensuring that fuel poor and vulnerable households in Scotland are not ‘left behind’ as the energy system evolves into one that is smarter, greener and more flexible. Those who can’t access the cost-savings that may arise from electric vehicles, in home battery storage and smart appliances for example should be supported and importantly, not see their costs rise.

Following HIE and the Crofting Commission’s announcement at the Black Isle Show that they aim to work collaboratively to further support crofting, SCF chair Russell Smith commented: "The Scottish Crofting Federation welcomes all support for crofting as it can only benefit our members. Since the crofting development role was transferred to HIE from the Crofting Commission, support has been concentrated on community development rather than purely on crofting matters.
“This move may herald more focus on crofting, which provides the bedrock for many communities in the north and west. Without crofting there might not be a community at all in some places, as population drifts away to the towns. As Mr Ewing says, ‘a successful crofting sector helps our rural communities to thrive’.
“This is a small step, but we expect far more and maintain our view that the Commission is still the most suitable vehicle to deliver real progress on crofting development, considering its accumulated expertise and experience in this area. Of course all announcements and initiatives will remain effectively meaningless unless they are backed up by the commitment of adequate resources.
“There is no mention of extra funding in the announcement, so we will have to see what comes out of the collaborative working proposals. We have in the past discussed common initiatives round the table with HIE and the Commission and are happy to contribute where we can."