Help with heating

Sir Robert Smith, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has called for more to be done to help those reliant on heating oil.

As a senior member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Sir Robert took part in an inquiry into fuel poverty for those households who are not connected to the gas grid.

Sir Robert said: “Everyone who relies on heating oil has been impacted by high prices, but for those on low incomes, particularly householders who are elderly, it has been particularly tough.”

“Mains gas suppliers are obliged by the regulator, Ofgem, to provide certain services such as advising householders on how to reduce their bills and how to insulate their homes.

It is clear from the evidence received by the Committee that changes need to be made to ensure that householders who rely on heating oil receive some of the same support.”

The Committee heard from a number of witnesses including the Office of Fair Trading, representatives of heating oil companies and organisations that work to relieve fuel poverty.

Sir Robert added:“I have been concerned for some time that those who rely on ‘top-up’ schemes are being overcharged for their fuel.

I was pleased to hear that the Office of Fair Trading is discussing this issue with the industry and I look forward to seeing the results of these discussions.

Most of those who are on top-up schemes are amongst the most vulnerable customers and it is important that they are not penalised by having to pay higher prices than the rest of us.”

Sir Robert said that he will continue to focus on this issue and is keen to hear from constituents about their experiences, good and bad, with heating oil suppliers.

He can be contacted at his constituency office:

Sir Robert Smith MP, Banchory Business Centre, Burn O’ Bennie Rd, Banchory, Kincardineshire AB31 5ZU