Welsh Liberal Democrats call for price cap on soaring cost of heating oil
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to extend the energy price cap to include heating oil.
The wholesale price of oil has doubled in the two weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, leaving households in Wales which are not connected to mains gas facing a massive hike in their heating bills.
Over 100,000 properties in Wales are dependant on oil for heating with rural areas particularly vulnerable to the problem.
In Ceredigion over 33 per cent of homes rely on oil heating and a previous analysis by the Welsh Liberal Democrats indicates the county will see the highest increase in fuel bills in the mainland UK.
The picture is similar in other parts of Wales including Powys, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd.
Over the winter wholesale gas and electricity prices have also spiked, leaving consumers facing price rises of over 50 per cent from 1 April as the energy price cap – the maximum amount a utility company can charge – will rise, pushing the average annual bill from £1,277 to £1,971.
While most homes on these tariffs are protected by the energy price cap set by the regulator Ofgem there is no such protection for households dependent on oil, meaning there is no upper limit on what they have to pay.
“As a rural MS, I am all too aware of the many day-to-day costs that my constituents must face compared to their urban counterparts. It is indefensible that they are now facing even steeper bills as the result of being forgotten about by a London-centric Conservative Party yet again,” Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, who represents the rural Mid & West Wales Region in the Senedd said.
“I would urge the government to urgently reconsider its position and to put in place financial protection for consumers of heating oil, equivalent to the existing energy price cap on gas and electricity.
“Beyond extending the energy price cap to heating oil, the Government should also scrap the 5% VAT on energy bills and double the Warm Homes Discount by introducing a one-off Robin Hood tax on the record profits of oil and gas producers and traders. It is important to remember that oil and gas providers are not struggling like normal people are, both Shell and BP have recently posted record-breaking profits.
“Many of my constituents are already being forced to make the choice between heating or eating, the government must take action to protect them.”
Earlier this week the UK Government announced it will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year as part of its sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, with experts predicting the cost of heating oil could potentially climb even higher as the price of crude oil remains volatile.
According to Welsh Government figures, around 10% of households in Wales use oil central heating, totalling close to 130,000 properties, and the majority of those are in rural areas where the housing stock tends to be older and less well insulated and heating costs tend to be a third more expensive as a consequence.
The most recent Welsh Housing Conditions Survey, which covered 2017-18, calculated that overall, 28% of rural dwellings In Wales used oil for heating.
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