Standing Rip-off

Some years ago at Annual Conference, Nicola said that we needed to concentrate on explaining the “why” of Independence rather than being caught up in the Unionist game of “how” to win independence. I was reminded of this again yesterday when I saw a graphic on Facebook about Electricity Standing Charges.

Now I always try to recall the words of Rabbie Burns “Just because you read it on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s true”, but given the current controversy around the impact that standing charges have on bills, I felt it was worth pursuing. The Westminster Government has recently kindly reduced the Energy Price Cap to £1923 a year for a typical household. Ok we don’t live in “typical households” but that’s what they tell us anyway. What they try to hide is the impact that Standing Charges have on your bills and in particular for those on lower incomes where the standing charges account for a higher % of the bill. I doubt that Rishi Sunak’s going to worry about the standing charges as he heats his new pool, but a single parent struggling to feed their children will have sleepless nights because of them.

It’s sometimes claimed that because an area is more remote or less densely populated this explains the higher charges but these areas often also produce more power so I’m cynical to say the least about that argument. Although there are lots of consumers in London for example there are very few producers so should Londoners not have to bear the cost of transmission to their area? Why are areas with oil, gas or renewables not compensated for the disruption by lower bills? Do they really think that Merseyside is underpopulated?

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the current set-up one thing is clear; as long as we are dictated to by Westminster, Scotland will be shafted at every turn and the constituency rich south east will be pandered to.

RegionAverage Electricity Standing Charge (p/day)
South East47.25p
Southern Western58.28p
N Wales and Mersey61.85p
South Wales53.87p
East Midlands50.30p
North West51.45p
Southern Scotland61.64p
Northern Scotland59.01p
Standing Charges and Unit Rates based on Ofgem’s Price Cap from 1st July 2023

Just because N Wales and Merseyside are treated even worse than Scotland merely highlights how unfair the UK is, we don’t always need to be the poorest of relations to know that the UK is broken.

I believed that the “why” is the key when Nicola said it and am even more convinced about it now, we need to shift the dial in a big way and the best way of doing this is by showing people that the Union, far from making them “Better Together” is actually making them poorer. It’s not enough to say that the Union isn’t working, we need to show them concrete examples which they can verify for themselves. (The link is at the bottom of the page.) 

This chart on Electricity Standing Charges is a classic example of proving that the Union is making you poorer.

It’s an old cliché that working smarter beats working harder and we need to make sure that all our work is as smart as possible! Uplifting speeches are great, marching can be uplifting but showing someone incontrovertible evidence that they’re being ripped off is vote-changing!

*Compare Energy Prices per kWh in the UK | The Energy Shop