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Scotland 'could see energy price increase after independence'

The UK government has suggested that Scottish residents could face a hike in energy prices, if they vote to become independent.

Energy secretary Ed Davey has spoken about a new analysis that predicts consumers in Scotland could be forced to pay an additional £189 per year for gas and electricity.

A referendum will be in September to determine whether or not Scotland will remain a part of the UK, while the energy sector has become a talking point for those on both sides of the argument.

By losing access to Britain's energy market, Scottish consumers will be charged £38 by 2020, according to the government's report. However, when taking into account the cost of supporting large-scale Scottish renewables, this figure will reach £189.

For medium-sized manufacturers, prices could go up by as much as £600,000 in the same period.

However, Scottish officials believe the rest of the UK is reliant on them, arguing that cooperation would be needed in order to prevent blackouts and rising costs in England and Wales.

Ofgem, which regulates the energy market, has already raised concerns about potential blackouts after revealing the safety cushion of available generation capacity could drop to as low as two per cent next winter.

Mr Davey denied the suggestion by stating Britain only gets around five per cent of its gas and electricity from north of the border.

He said: "There would be no need for the continuing UK to support an independent Scottish state's energy costs to ensure its own security of supply.

"I haven't done the calculations, but common sense shows that there are low-carbon options the UK could start to tap into which would be cheaper than the likely low-carbon options that an independent Scotland would be offering us."

Over the past few years, more than 25 per cent of the energy exported by Scotland has gone to the rest of the UK.

Posted by Paul Taylor