View Full Version : Action on rising heating oil prices

15-Feb-11, 17:46
MP secures heating oil hike probe

THE Office of Fair Trading is to make a probe into the hike in the cost of heating oil, a priority.
The investigation follows recent lobbying by Far North MP, John Thurso who said yesterday (Tuesday) that he welcomed the news.
The member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross had written to the OFT expressed concern about price levels which had increased by as much as 50 per cent since September last year and had imposed a heavy burden on his constituents.
John Thurso told the OFT he could see no legitimate reason why consumers in the north and west Highlands should face price hikes of such a magnitude.
He said: “People in the Far North were hit especially hard by price hikes over a very bad winter period. An investigation into competition in local markets by the OFT is particularly welcome.”
The Liberal Democrat MP wants the investigation to focus on the operations of fuel company, D.C.C. Energy, which owns a number of subsidiary fuel companies and price comparison websites. He stipulated D.C.C , following claims that the company has “a virtual monopoly in many areas of the country”.
Critics have argued that the company’s failure to disclose which suppliers it owns, means that many consumers are not getting a fair deal. Of the three suppliers to Caithness, two are owned by GB Oil, a subsidiary of D.C.C. These are Scottish Fuels and Brogan Fuels.
John Thurso commented: “If there is a clear market abuse then the OFT has a duty to investigate.”
OFT’s investigation into how well competition is working at both a local and regional level as well as whether customers get a clear, informative and fair deal, will be carried out timously, so that any recommendations they make can be considered before winter this year.
The MP is urging any constituents who want to comment or make a submission on the scope of the probe to write to Off-grid Energy Study, Office of Fair Trading, Level 2, Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4Y 8JX or e-mail offgrid@oft.gsi.gov.uk (offgrid@oft.gsi.gov.uk) before February 28.
DCC is the largest oil distributor in Britain, selling about 4.5 billion litres a year and employs 3500 people.