CATRIONA C Clark (Letters, February 3) amply highlights the appalling plight of those on pre-payment meters, particularly given the much higher price they are charged for their energy, and the ease with which the courts are so readily acquiescing to power suppliers to facilitate their installation, which places such a huge burden on those suffering fuel poverty.

When energy companies like Shell are reporting record obscene profits which should be being used to defray the inordinate prices they are charging, and failing to reflect prices at the pump falling in the energy market, the government’s failure to act in the public interest and regulate them is fostering the fuel poverty being inflicted on the most financially disadvantaged in society. This Westminster Tory government is impoverishing us.

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Privatisation of the energy market, ostensibly to facilitate price control through competition, has proven to be an illusion and abject failure, although not one that couldn’t easily be envisaged from the outset. The electricity produced locally at agreed cost doesn’t compete with gas supplies subject to separate market forces as it should. Rather electricity’s price is piggy-backed onto gas the price to create the inordinate profit-taking that is driving us into fuel poverty.

Provision of life’s essentials surely has to be a prime function of a democratically elected socially responsible government serving the public; a public service which should be delivered at reasonable and affordable cost. But our Westminster government has converted this aspect of public service into a cash cow for those who lend their political affiliation to the party of millionaires who have created it, and who refuse to moderate the industry’s excesses by returning extraordinary unwarranted profits to the consumers who’ve been fleeced.

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Clearly we will never get fairness in energy, properly funded public services and closure of the many tax loopholes used by the wealthy to avoid tax as long as we allow government to be controlled by rich politicians without any semblance of public conscience, affinity and accountability.

Isn’t it time to force energy companies to equalise the tariffs across all consumers irrespective of payment methods and/or return them to public control where it will become a political imperative?

Isn’t it increasingly certain that only by divorcing from this morally and financially bankrupt Westminster government through independence will we ever have any prospect of being governed fairly?

Jim Taylor

IT’S a recurring media theme that Scotland’s failure to nationalise its energy sector is an expensive missed opportunity and it is sad and disappointing that Pat Kane in Saturday’s National repeated the myth (Breathtaking profits of oil giants should spur us to action on sustainable energy, Feb 4).

There’s no evidence that I am aware of that a nationalised company would escape rising fuel prices. Tax and payments to shareholders are a separate issue. A quick look at Sweden’s fuel market, which is partly nationalised, will show that no price advantage has resulted.

Even if it were possible to proceed to nationalisation in Scotland, large sums of money would be required in the set-up, and since Holyrood is prevented by Westminster from borrowing money on the open market this is unlikely to happen.

RG Clark