Kerosene fuel winter price hike 'a rip-off'
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 December 2010
CALLS have been made for the regulation of heating oil prices following the "exploitation" by local fuel suppliers.
MaMany homes in villages across the Broadcast area rely on the delivery of heating fuel kerosene. But consumers have been hit with recently increased prices since the onset of the freezing weather.
Great Bardfield resident Sheila Considine regularly follows the prices of suppliers who deliver in the area.
She said: “The increase in the last week or so has been significant – one company was charging 47p per litre last Monday; on the Friday after the snow they were charging 63p. Others have been quoting as much as £1.30 per litre while most are saying that they can’t guarantee deliveries until long after this Christmas.
“There is no way barrel or petrol prices went up that much in four days, nor have driver salaries increased. It is exploitation.”
Ms Considine is concerned that residents – many of whom are pensioners – are being ripped off, yet are not shopping around for the best possible price.
“I closely monitor it because I’m worried about how much I am paying and I would urge others to do the same,” she said.
“Many older people tell me they stay wrapped up in bed because they can’t afford to heat the house during the day. Their winter fuel allowance is coming in and going straight out to these companies so they can have enough oil to keep them warm through this harsh cold weather.
“But it isn’t just them; this affects a lot of households in Dunmow and the surrounding areas. I’ve spoken with many people in Great Bardfield who are very concerned about running out of oil and not being able to meet the constantly escalating prices.
“Great Bardfield has run an oil syndicate now for three years and, through hard work, it has been able to keep deliveries coming at the lowest available price but it should not have to be this way, regulation should demand reasonable prices for all.”
Ms Considine did however, point out that two local companies are keeping their prices around the 50p per litre mark: Castle Liquid Fuels in Wethersfield (52.95p/litre) and Advance Fuels (50.50p/litre).
“They both deserve a mention because they have at least tried to keep their prices lower. Advance Fuels will even deliver the next day,” she said.
But Ms Considine, who is chairman for the Three Fields Neighbourhood Action Panel, has called for more Government action to help regulate kerosene suppliers.
“Trading Standards has announced that it is looking into price hiking by British Gas – but no checks are made on kerosene because it is not a predominant energy. It has been overlooked,” she said. “Why should we suffer because these companies want to make more money from the snow fall?”
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