Heating Oil Bill Scandal- Daily Mail Newspaper- Exclusive News Story- ***February 2013***

It was brought to our attention that domestic oil bill had rocketed in the past few months causing misery to old people and thos on low incomes.

We tipped off the Daily Mail newspaper who ran a story to raise awareness of the issue.

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The price of heating oil has soared by 20 per cent in less than six months, putting the elderly and vulnerable at serious risk, campaigners say.

Householders living in rural areas where there is no gas supply are being forced to spend as much as 1,750 a year to heat their homes compared to 1,350 last year, Age UK believes.

In December, the cost of oil in some parts of the UK hit 70p per litre compared to 54p earlier in the year.

Thousands are left with no option but to heat one room in the home or go without any heating in the bitterly cold weather, the charity has found.

The situation has become so desperate for some communities that groups of people have set up co-operatives to reduce costs.

Glenys McMahon, 70, formed a co-operative in the remote village of Clapham, in North Yorkshire four years ago because there was no gas supply to the village and heating oil simply became unaffordable for some people in her community.

She bulk orders 30,000 litres of oil four times a year. It costs 57p a litre and she distributes it among 74 people, mainly pensioners, in the village.

When she set up the co-operative after her husband died, the price of oil was as low as 30p a litre. It has more than doubled since then.

Mrs McMahon said: 'If the order was placed individually, the oil would cost 66 pence per litre. If we do it as a bulk buy we get so much knocked off.
'No one has gas here and without ordering it this way you wouldn't be able to afford as much.

'I ring round people and ask them what they need and then I order it. You have to be quite frugal with it as not everybody has private pensions, some just have state pensions and find it very hard.

'I'm in the position where I don't have to scrimp and save but some people only have the heating on when it is really necessary, and some go to bed early to try to save on heating.'

Mrs McMahon uses about 2,000 litres of heating oil a year, costing her 1,150. She uses it to heat her home and cook on the Aga.

Mervyn Kohler, a special adviser at Age UK, warned that the health and wellbeing of elderly people is in 'great danger'.

Age UK wants competition regulators to monitor the industry.

Last winter more than 23,000 people aged 65 and over died from strokes and other cold-related illnesses in the UK. About six million older people are in fuel poverty, which means they are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy.

Figures show that the average price rose from just over 54p in July 2012 to 65p in December 2012 a 20 per cent increase, or more than seven times the annual inflation rate.

Based on an average use of between 2,000-2,500 litres a year in each household, some people could now be spending as much as 1,750 a year heating their home.

It costs the NHS 1.36billion a year to care for people who fall ill because they live in cold homes, and most are elderly with respiratory diseases.

A spokesman for the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers said: 'Consumers get a pretty good deal and, with low margins, there is very little leeway to give them price reductions and still remain viable.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2279519/Elderly-danger-fuel-oil-bills-jump-20-cent-leaving-rural-families-400-pocket.html#ixzz2LFcGtfa0

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