Albyn Housing Society launches emergency energy fund for tenants
Albyn Housing Society is launching a £100,000 fund for tenants struggling with soaring energy costs across its 3,700 properties in 70 communities across the Highlands - a fund the society expects to last only a few days due to demand.
The Albyn Energy Fund is part of a package of measures to support its many tenants struggling financially with energy bills and the cost of living.
The Society is appealing to MSPs and MPs to stop Highland residents from being charged more for energy bills than anywhere else in the UK, even though a large proportion of the country’s energy is produced in the region. Highland residents can pay up to 4p per unit more, a charge Albyn is calling a “Highland Energy Tax”.
Albyn is also calling for an immediate review into the eligibility rules for the Scottish Government’s Investing in Communities Fund; a potentially transformative source of revenue that Albyn is excluded from because its communities are spread over a larger geographical area than most Scottish housing associations.
Kirsty Morrison, interim CEO of Albyn Housing Society, said: “Hundreds of our customers are in desperate need, struggling with energy costs, fuel and food leading to unprecedented rising living costs. While this is being experienced across the entire country, residents in the north of Scotland are also paying the equivalent of a Highland Energy Tax.
“Our tenants can just about see their energy being produced from their doorstep, but they pay the highest energy costs per unit in the UK, up to 4p per unit more. With cooler temperatures, this energy is often needed more to heat and power homes. Most of the area we cover is not connected to gas supplies so our tenants have limited energy choices, which are often more expensive, including electric or oil systems.
“While the £100,000 Albyn Energy Fund will provide vital financial assistance, it won’t last for long, so we want the UK and Scottish governments to step in and end the unfair Highland Energy Tax once and for all.”
Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, added: “People are already struggling to make ends meet and are terrified about the impact these astronomical energy price hikes will have on their household budgets. The situation is even bleaker here in the Highlands as many households are off-grid, and already pay more per unit for electricity than households in other regions across the UK.
“I am so pleased that Albyn has put together this emergency package of measures to help tenants with rising energy bills. Without a doubt, this new fund will make a huge difference to tenants who are facing the choice between heating their homes or putting food on the table.”