THE Prime Minister claims he will reduce energy bills by scrapping green Government levies on electricity and gas bills ("Green tax row engulfs PM and Coalition after Major challenge", The Herald, October 24).

Yet most of the levies have nothing to do with renewable energy or reducing CO2 emissions. They are to reduce energy bills for the poorest households.

Only four are "green" measures - the Renewables Obligation, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Carbon Price Floor and Feed In Tariffs, which allow consumers to save on their bills by generating electricity using small wind turbines or rooftop solar panels. The four together put £50, or about 3.95%, on the average household's annual bill of £1267 a year.

The other two main Government levies on fuel bills, the Energy Companies Obligation and the Warm Home Discount, reduce bills for people on low incomes. The final two and smallest are for smart meters and better billing to reduce all consumers' energy bills. These four non-green levies add £61 a year to the average bill or 4.81%.

So green measures are under 4% of the average bill. This is before considering how much more demand for fossil fuels would be outstripping supply globally, and so pushing up wholesale gas prices worldwide, if no renewables had been invested in to provide extra generation capacity.

Does Mr Cameron take us for mugs in pretending a factor that accounts for only 4% of bills is the big problem? Is he planning to cut subsidies for the poorest households under the cover of calling them "green"?

The energy companies must be made to provide full figures on how much profit they make from both electricity generation and retail. They claim they only have 4% to 5% profit margins, but this figure likely involves subtracting their profits from generating energy for wholesale to their retail arms.

Then the Government needs to either cap the percentage of profit they can make, or, better, nationalise them. Shareholders and investors in big private firms have an unrealistic expectation of ever-increasing profits and share dividends which ordinary people can't afford to fund.

Duncan McFarlane,




WILF O'Malley's letter about Scottish Gas Home Care Contracts (October 23) struck a chord. I too had problems recently when reviewing my contract and discovering that so-called "annual services" for my gas boiler were becoming at least 15-16 months apart.

When I contacted Scottish Gas to complain, and taking forever to get answers, I was told that as long as a service was carried out within a calendar year they were abiding by the contract. I pointed out that if a service was carried out on, for example, August 1 in one year and another on July 31 the following year, a gap of nearly 24 months, that was certainly not an annual service, which in my book, should be every 12 months.

At least Mr O'Malley received an apology and a refund. I got neither.

G A McRae,

36 Culloden Road,