'It's an unspoken island tax': Shetland comedian condemns energy prices as her monthly bill reaches £630 – The Press & Journal

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A Shetland comedian has claimed islanders are being “ripped off” by energy providers more than ever.
Marjolein Robertson wears thermals around the house to keep warm, and actively takes steps to reduce her energy usage.
But despite regularly being away for work, the 33-year-old’s energy bill has almost doubled.
Miss Robertson was shocked after her monthly bill went from £355 to £630 – especially when she was away for the month of August while performing at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival.
While the whole country is suffering from soaring energy costs, island communities have always faced higher costs. Fuel poverty in Shetland is expected to hit 96%.
Miss Robertson said: “I don’t know how (this happened), I’ve been giving them readings and only been living here part-time.
“I’ve had people in Aberdeenshire say my monthly bill is what they pay annually and that was before it doubled.”
Energy supplier SSE told us this was Miss Robertson’s estimated bill, and that they are working with her to ensure she is on the best meter.
Miss Robertson said that while she is away from Shetland a lot of the time, when she is home, she hardly uses any energy.
“I only ever run two of my storage heaters, I sometimes have underfloor heating in the bathroom on, but most of my heating comes from a fuel burning stove which burns peat, wood and coal.
“The storage heaters are only on from October to March, I’m always turning off lights, I’ll happily walk-through dark corridors, but my bill is still so high,” she explained.
She believes Shetlanders have always been charged extortionate energy bills, but with the cost-of-living crisis, it has become unattainable.
“It’s just an unspoken island tax they get away with charging us and other folk south are aghast at how much we’re getting ripped off by SSE.
“If you don’t earn over £100,000 in Shetland, you’re technically in fuel poverty, that’s how expensive it is for us.”
Miss Robertson fears Shetland’s colder and darker climate also isn’t being taken into consideration by energy providers.
“It’s colder and it’s darker, we have less hours of daylight in the winter, yet we’re getting penalised for the fact we’re relying on it more,” she added.
In August, it was predicted the annual energy costs in Shetland will rise to more than £10,000 per year by April next year – around double the UK average.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We recognise that the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on island communities is significantly greater when compared to the rest of the country.
“That is why we have announced a £1.4 million Island Cost Crisis Emergency Fund, as part of the Emergency Budget Review, to support our island communities who need it the most.
“We are working closely with the island local authorities and other partners to identify priority areas and will be announcing the details soon.
“We have doubled our Fuel Insecurity Fund to £20 million this year, to ensure support continues to be available to people struggling to meet their energy costs.
“Powers to cap energy prices are reserved to the UK Government and we have pressed repeatedly for these to be used to provide additional support for vulnerable households and to do more to support households across Scotland that rely on alternative fuels to heat their homes.”
A spokeswoman for SSE said: “Ms Robertson’s usage is based on estimated readings.
“We’ve emailed her to advise that a different meter type might be more suitable for her.
“Once we’ve heard back, we will update her balance, adjust her Direct Debit accordingly and discuss next steps regarding changing her meter.”
 
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