Angus MP Mike Weir has met Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, to discuss his concerns regarding the situation faced by those in rural Angus who rely on home fuel oil and LPG for heating.
Mr Weir has long campaigned on the issue and has pressed various government departments to take action.
He said: “I set out in detail my concerns regarding the issue of those who are not connected to the gas grid and rely on home fuel oil. As someone who represents a rural area Mr Moore clearly was aware of many of the issues and the meeting was constructive.”
“The recent report from the Office of Fair Trading found that there was a competitive market, which seems odd given the concentration of power in very few companies. The main issue, however, is that the supply of home fuel oil is not governed in the same way as domestic gas and electricity which are covered by Ofgem, which can investigate and make regulations on the type of tariffs available.
“Many constituents in Angus faced very serious difficulties last winter when the severe weather hit early and many could not get fresh supplies. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that some suppliers have remote meters in the tanks and will only supply when it falls below a set level.
“In some cases constituents who had run out were told it could take up to four weeks to get fresh supplies. It is completely unacceptable that there should be such a long delay in supply of a vital resource for home heating. Such a situation would not be tolerated in the gas or electric industries.
“Those on off-grid supplies do not have access to social tariffs nor, indeed, can they even be sure of the price between the date the oil is ordered and delivered, which can cause huge problems.”
“I also pressed the point that one low cost way in which the government could help some in the situation would be to allow pensioners with home fuel oil to get their winter fuel allowance earlier in the year when prices are lower, allowing them to fill up their tanks before the bad weather hits.”