Scottish Government-commissioned experts will examine the possibility of an energy price freeze in an independent Scotland despite SNP ministers dismissing a similar plan by Ed Miliband as unfeasible, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has said.
The Expert Commission on Energy Regulation in an Independent Scotland, commissioned by Mr Ewing in July, will examine "all of the options including the options which we think are unfeasible", such as a price freeze, he said.
Mr Miliband pledged to freeze gas and electricity prices for homes and businesses for 20 months after the 2015 general election if his party wins power.
Speaking in Holyrood yesterday, Mr Ewing said the Labour leader's plan could lead to massive pre-emptive price hikes, blackouts, corporate insolvencies and cuts in jobs and investment.
Today he told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that his commission will look into a price freeze but insisted Labour "are promising something which they may not be capable of delivering".
He said: "We have invested £250 million in fuel poverty measures such as boiler replacements, especially for senior citizens, which are estimated to deliver savings of £1 billion over the lifetime of these projects for pensioners and others.
"We have asked the energy commission, chaired by (energy lawyer) Robert Armour and with consumer experts such as Audrey Gallacher from Consumer Focus sitting on it, to look at all of the options including the options which we think are unfeasible.
"We don't think the price freeze is feasible, and the trouble is Mr Miliband has not published the analysis upon which his so-called plans are based. I hear he has published some information in the House of Commons research department which we will look at.
"The SNP Government has delivered price freezes on the council tax and prescription charges because these are matters within our control, but the problem about the energy price freeze is the international gas price is set by global markets and therefore not within the control of the Labour party, and they have not published any plan showing how it would work.
"That must surely suggest to the public that they are promising something which they may not be capable of delivering."
Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray has said the freeze and a proposed new UK regulator with the power to control pricing could benefit people in Scotland if they vote No to independence and if Labour wins the next UK election.
"The idea that because the SNP have introduced a council tax freeze, it is perfectly acceptable then for the energy companies to raise their profits by raising the prices that they charge to consumers is ridiculous," he told the BBC.
"More than 100,000 Scottish households live in fuel poverty as a result of the decisions that these energy companies have taken."