Household energy bills in an independent Scotland could be three times higher than if the nation voted to stay in the UK, it was claimed yesterday.
Global consultancy firm AF-Mercados has told a committee of MPs Scots could each pay £194 a year by 2020 – against £58 if they stayed in the UK, or £43 for people south of the border post-independence.
The figures – dismissed last night by the Scottish Government as “simply wrong” – are based on claims that an independent Scotland would struggle to maintain current subsidies for its renewable schemes and green energy targets.
In its submission to the select committee for energy and climate change, the consultancy said: “It is not clear yet that the Scottish Government has understood the full implications of independence on the renewables industry.”
But AF-Mercados conceded, if many countries had to buy in renewable energy to meet EU obligations by 2020, there could be “a sellers’ market, with Scotland able to command premiums and the rest of the UK scrambling with others to compete for Scotland’s resources”.
Consumer Focus suggested it was the rest of the UK which would face higher bills – with Scotland potentially benefiting from a “net transfer of wealth”.
But it also said the loss of a UK-wide subsidy which helps keep prices down for electricity consumers in areas such as the north where distribution costs are high, could lead to a cut in the scale of the scheme.