SNP calls for heating oil price fairness
The SNP has demanded greater regulation of the fuel market for LPG and home fuel oil as the party passed a resolution at its campaign conference which expressed concern at the concentration of ownership which has seen prices rise for rural customers.
SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP, who proposed amendments to the Energy Bills over the last two years proposing the introduction of social tariffs for the domestic heating oil market, said the sector should be subject to the same regulation as the mains electricity and gas market.
Mr Weir said:
“While the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to tackle fuel poverty, the UK Government has done nothing to ensure that off-grid energy customers are afforded the same protection as mains gas and electricity customers.
“The heating oil market is subject to sudden and very high price spikes and there is real concern amongst consumers that there is very little competition in the market, leaving them effectively with no option but to pay up.
“Off-grid users are the only customers not to have access to social tariffs and a large number of the rural fuel poor are unable to get help with heating bills at all. It is vital that this situation is investigated, and action taken to introduce robust regulation to protect consumers.”
SNP Scottish Parliament candidate for Angus South Graeme Dey said:
“The domestic heating oil market is the only one not to use social tariffs and a large number of the rural fuel poor are unable to get help with heating bills even after the exceptionally cold winter that has gripped the country.
“It is vital that it is done quickly and we make changes in the market before next winter. We need a full investigation into the concentration of power in the heating oil market, and an examination of whether it is possible to design social tariffs to help people in fuel poverty who use this type of heating.”
The text of the SNP motion is detailed below:
INVESTIGATION INTO FUEL MARKET FOR LPG AND HOME FUEL OIL
Conference welcomes the progress that has been made by the Scottish Government in tackling domestic fuel poverty under the Central Heating Programme and, more recently, under the Energy Assistance Package, and the record number of central heating systems installed free in the homes of elderly people; notes that despite this a substantial number of homes in rural Scotland continue to rely on LPG or Home Fuel oil, the price of which has risen substantially; further notes that this market is not regulated in the same manner as electricity and mains gas; notes that recent takeovers have resulted in a concentration of ownership and calls upon the UK government to introduce the same regulation for this market as for other energy markets.