Regulation needed for home-heating oil industry - Micky Brady
Sinn Féin MLA Micky Brady said recent speculation that there was to be another increase in the price of home-heating oil emphasised the need for a more robust regulation of the industry.
The Newry & Armagh MLA said:
“It is ironic that we had a milder holiday period compared to last year’s big freeze and yet there is speculation that the price of home-heating oil is to increase.
“As far as the consumer is concerned there never appears to be a situation when the price of oil comes down despite on several occasions the price per barrel on a global scale decreasing significantly.
“Every reason is given for increasing the price. If it is very cold then the demand is high, the price goes up and remains high, taxes also play a part, as do the reasons given by the large suppliers such as high external costs.
“The recent colder than usual winters and rising prices, fuel poverty levels in the North have risen above 50%. With prices now reaching £550 for 900litres it would take someone on Jobs Seekers Allowance (£65.45 per-week) nine weeks of using their total benefit to fill their oil tank.
“The issue of fuel poverty is one that has been persistent for the past number of years and has been exacerbated by the increasing cost of living and rising unemployment. Bringing the home-heating oil industry under regulation is a way of providing consumers with an understanding and reassurance that the price they are charged would be fair.”CRÍOCH/END