Reduction in energy bills ‘long overdue’ says MP

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray have highlighted their concern over static energy bills, despite the dramatic drop recently in oil prices.

The price of a barrel of the North Sea benchmark dropped by 5.5% to $47.36, its lowest level since early 2009.

While there has been a drop in fuel prices at petrol stations in the region, and across the country, energy bills have remained at high levels.

In the last year, wholesale energy costs have fallen by between 9 per cent and 20 per cent but no supplier has reduced the price of their standard tariff.

Russell Brown MP will be voting in Parliament on Wednesday (14th January) in favour of giving the regulator Ofgem the power to cut prices to bring immediate relief to consumers across Britain.

Over 40% of households in some parts of Dumfries & Galloway are in fuel poverty and 63% of people over 60 in Dumfries & Galloway are in fuel poverty.

The average price for a litre of unleaded petrol in Dumfries on the 12th January 2015 was 110.9p. The average price for a litre of diesel in Dumfries on the 12th January 2015 was 117.23p. On the 12th September 2014, the average price in Dumfries for a litre of unleaded petrol was 129.9p and the average price for a litre of diesel was 134.9p.

The average price for a litre of LPG in the UK on the 12th January 2015 was 62.54p. The average price for a litre of LPG in the UK on the 12th September 2014 was 67.72p.

Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “Motorists right across Dumfries and Galloway will have welcomed the reduction in prices at the pumps but we still continue to see the slow and gradual price fall, whereas when the price of oil increases, pump prices rocket compared to the slow drift downwards when the price of a barrel of oil tumbles.

“But that is only one cost of living element that we experience. Whereas not every household is a car owner, we are all energy users in our homes. Over recent years whilst households have been severely hit, those who are off-gas grid, in other words heating oil and LPG consumers, have found themselves on the receiving end of price increases that are simply not regulated. I’ve even come across a constituent in recent days who has contacted their LPG supplier to discover that they have almost ended up in a bidding war between two suppliers to find a price to be able to place an order. The fact that this type of heating fuel is not regulated really does make it all the more important for it to fall under the auspices of the regulator, Ofgem, and that is something that needs to be pursued once again.

“Every household experienced the rise in energy bills over the last few years and the energy companies made it clear that this was a direct consequence of the rise in oil prices. Now that the price of oil is tumbling, a reduction in charges for those same energy bills is long overdue. The commitment given by Ed Miliband and the Labour Party to freeze energy bills after the general election means that it is vitally important that those energy prices that are being charged, properly reflect the real costs that are influenced by oil prices and that consumers are not misled by a false and over-inflated price as we approach the election.”