The European Commission has been urged to launch an investigation into the UK’s electricity market amid claims of “discrimination” against the north and north-east.
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has written to the Brussels-based executive to highlight what he believes is a “violation” of an EU directive.
The Press and Journal reported yesterday that official figures showed that families in northern Scotland pay up to 12.5% more than other parts of Britain because of a regional pricing system for transmission.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael this week said he was backing the P&J’s Fair Deal on Energy Prices campaign, and called on regulators to take action to overhaul the market.
But Mr Smith and Rob Gibson, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said that the UK Government could end it now if it wanted.
“For Liberal Democrats politicians to call on their own government to do something when they’ve had five years to act is the most cynical posturing and the people of the north will see through this shallow opportunism,” Mr Smith said.
“I have every reason to believe that this practice constitutes a clear discrimination between users and a violation of EU directive concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity.
“I have written to the European Commission urging them to promote non-discriminatory access to energy across a member state and I expect the commission to recommend that the UK Government takes immediate steps to eliminate the surcharge.
“What we have now is discrimination to those that live in one part of a member state as opposed to others. It is a question of fairness pure and simple.”
Mr Gibson said: “Whilst Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael made nice noises about being against this price difference, the inconvenient truth for his constituents as well as all those in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Aberdeenshire is that he and his Liberal Democrat colleagues have allowed this geography tax to go unchallenged.
“Make no mistake about it if the UK Government wanted to end this they could. They do not.”