The cost of energy has increased considerably for everyone, but people who rely on off-grid or unregulated fuel such as oil, coal, or wood face additional challenges.
People in rural and remote areas are often reliant on electricity, and often an additional unregulated fuel, usually used for heating. These fuels are not subject to the same price controls as electricity and gas.
The price for a unit of electricity is more than three times the cost per unit of gas, and properties reliant on electric heating face higher costs than they would were they to be running a comparable gas central heating system.
Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme
As you do not use mains gas and use solid fuel you should have received a payment of £200 towards your energy bills from the Alternative Fuel Payment scheme.
Most eligible households will have received this payment automatically from the 6th of February 2023, appearing as a credit on your electricity bill – you can check this with your supplier. The payment scheme is available to those who use alternative fuels including heating oil; liquid petroleum gas; coal; or biomass.
If you have not received this payment, you may have to apply for this through the UK Government’s AFP Alternative Fund. Applications were supposed to open by the end of February 2023, and you should be able to find more information about this online.
Essential costs for food, clothing, household goods, transport and housing are all also typically higher in rural areas.
People living in these areas usually have less reliable or no public transport, facing longer distances to travel for essential goods and services, which can lead to a much higher fuel spend.
Additionally, rural homes are more likely to stand alone and not benefit from heat from neighbouring attached households, and are often built of solid stone or concrete, which causes challenges and added costs for insultation and other energy efficiency improvements.
Additional Support for Energy Costs
There are other sources of support available to help with the cost-of-living, and the team at Advice Direct Scotland can point you in the right direction.
energyadvice.scot provide free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters to the citizens of Scotland and can answer energy-related enquiries. We can also help you discuss issues with your supplier if you are having trouble contacting them.
Our specialist advisers are available on 0808 196 8660, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, with more information available in the Knowledge Centre at www.energyadvice.scot.
It would also be a good idea to investigate whether you would be entitled to any benefits support. The benefits calculator at www.advice.scot allows you to check your entitlement, including Scottish devolved benefits.
The team at advice.scot can also run through an eligibility check with you over the phone on 0808 800 9060, and can assist with applications if required.