UTILITA APPOINTED AS HEBRIDES ENERGY NEW PARTNER
Partners in the Hebrides Energy Company are keen to ensure that local customers are on the best possible deal for them following the transfer of Our Power customers, including those who had signed up to Hebrides Energy tariffs, to Utilita as of 31st January.
Hebrides Energy partners have been in contact with Utilita seeking a continuation of the competitive tariffs Our Power had offered. However, given the rise in electricity prices, it is probable that customers will be placed on a tariff that is more expensive than what had been available through Our Power. Over the next few days, customers should receive a welcome pack from Utilita confirming what tariff they have been placed on. It would be advisable to review if that is the best possible deal for you as a household, as switching to an alternative provider may be a good option.
For customers on standard meters, you can look at what is available on the market at the moment via the Tighean Innse Gall’s Switch platform https://switch.tighean.co.uk/
Customers on Total Heat Total Control should compare the Utilita tariff with what is currently available from SSE. These do not appear on any switching sites but will be featured on the SSE website or by calling them directly.
Ofgem have published information for Our Power customers on their transfer to Utilita which should answer the majority of queries and this is on the Ofgem website. Any queries regarding individual accounts should be directed directly to Utilita, using the account number detailed on the Welcome Pack.
HHP will also be contacting tenants who were signed up to Our Power from the start of their tenancy once more information becomes available.
CONSULTATION ON ANIMAL CRUELTY SENTENCING
The Scottish Government is seeking views from Western Isles residents on proposals to strengthen enforcement powers for animal welfare offences.
Proposed amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 would increase the maximum penalty for the most serious cruelty offences from 12 months to five years imprisonment, and a potential unlimited fine.
These new tougher penalties could also apply to attacks against service animals. The changes would also allow quicker rehoming of animals removed by animal welfare inspectors.
It is also proposed to enable enforcement authorities to issue fixed penalty notices.
Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:
‘Animal welfare is a subject that I feel very passionately about so I’m delighted to be launching this consultation
‘We want to have the highest standards of welfare for our animals, but before we introduce new legislation, it’s vital that we know what relevant stakeholders - particularly those with practical experience of animal cruelty issues’. The consultation page can be found online at
The consultation period Closes on 26th April 2019.
REGIONAL MSP COMMENTS ON ISLES CALL CENTRE CRISIS
Highlands & Islands Regional Labour MSP Rhoda Grant speaking about the decision by TalkTalk to close down their facility in Stornoway said:
‘There needs to be discussions around this decision which seems to have come out of the blue and will have an adverse impact on the island, the economy and more importantly the 59 individuals that are employed by the company.
‘My heart goes out to all these dedicated employees. The company say they are centralising and moving the jobs to Salford in Manchester with little dialogue with the workforce, trade unions or wider community.’
Rhoda went on: ‘It is my understanding that this company was financially supported by HIE,
‘I am writing to HIE asking what support they gave and whether there us an opportunity to claw this back if this decision is not reversed.
‘I have also spoken to the company but they are adamant that they will not reverse this decision but are offering their staff relocation to Salford. However, I am keen to find out if similar work can be procured for the staff involved and whether HIE have looked into that’.
Read more: Local News for Wednesday 6th February 2019
COMHAIRLE COMMENTS ON TALK TALK
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called on the Scottish Government to intervene in the Talk Talk proposals for the transfer of its Stornoway operation to Manchester.
The Comhairle has written to Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, stating;
“Given the fragility of the local economy and the detrimental impacts that these losses will have are there any additional and specific supports that the Scottish Government can offer?”
Talk Talk has confirmed that they are transferring their Stornoway operation to Manchester with the loss or transfer of 60 jobs.
Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, said: ‘This is a significant blow to the economy of the Western Isles. Our immediate thoughts are with the employees of the company and their families and we will play whatever role we can in supporting them. We anticipate that the Comhairle, together with our partners in SDS and HIE, will be implementing PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) procedures.
‘However, I also believe that the Scottish Government can and should play an active role and do what they can by way of supporting the employees’.
The Comhairle has emphasised that in a city location such as Glasgow the equivalent scale of job losses would be more than 3,000, resulting in a major and significant impact on the local economy.
Read more: Local News for Tuesday 5th February 2019
HIE BRAND DEVELOPMENT COURSE IN STORNOWAY
Business persons in the Western Isles are to be afforded a golden opportunity organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), as part of its Entrepreneurial Academy, the brand development workshop will be delivered by experts in the field and will be free to attend takes place in Stornoway in March.
At the workshop, delegates will learn how to communicate the vision, mission and values of their business or social enterprise, while gaining knowledge of how to build a brand that reflects the company’s operations and the experiences of its customers.
Bill McMillan, head of business growth for Outer Hebrides at HIE, said:
‘To stand out in a crowded marketplace, business leaders should consider how their brand reflects who they are, what they do and their values. Today’s consumers look beyond logos, slogans and adverts; seeing more than just products and buying into a company’s identity’.
The workshop will be delivered by Lesley Thomson, managing director of communications consultancy Spreng Thomson, and Janice Kirkpatrick, creative director of design agency Graven.
Read more: Local News for Monday 4th February 2019