There was a debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon about the charges Scotland pays to connect to the National Grid.
Many of my non-Scotland domiciled readers may not know that electricity produced not far from me here can cost me far more per kilowatt than it can someone who lives in the south-east of England.
Scottish electricity industry leaders are demanding an end to the 'unfair' practice and say the costs may cause some renewable electricity generation projects to be delayed or abandoned.
Transmission charges on electricity generators pay for the cost of the national electricity grid. They vary according to how far a power source is located from the main centre of demand, which is London.
In the north of Scotland, generators are charged £20.08p per kilowatt but in Central London a power source receives a subsidy of £6.41p per kilowatt. Subsidies are payable across most of southern England.
The National Grid argues that the differentials encourage companies to locate power plants close to demand centres, cutting the costs of the national transmission network and reducing consumers' bills. They also argue that stronger winds in northern Scotland meant that wind farms there generated more power than their southern counterparts and so could afford to pay the higher transmission changes. It said that of 20,000 megawatts of planned British renewable generating capacity, 9,000 megawatts was in Scotland.
Let me get this right. Because we generate excess power here in Scotland and decide to send it south to England we should be penalised. That is what the NG is saying surely. That is grossly unfair.
A couple of years ago the SNP were reported to be drawing up plans to build the world's longest electricity connector to Norway. Surely if we can get this project off the ground then we will be able to negotiate a better deal for Scottish consumers.