Dear David: day TWELVE of 20

Day TWELVE of TWENTY: I can’t believe we are back here again, can you?

I cannot believe that for the third winter out of four I am about to go on Radio Oxford and highlight the same energy issues and still they remain unresolved. I am frankly tired of banging on about the same thing. I am frankly tired of telling those that can make the difference that it is going to happen and then watch it happen! But here’s the thing, the majority of the heating OIL supply business is tired of these issues too. I know that most suppliers do not want this issue to remain unresolved and I know they certainly do not want the media to have the opportunity to drag them all into the same issues – particularly on pricing – once again. However, we are here once again!

Of course The Sunday Times wanted to cover this. They have been grinding their axe about certain heating OIL companies for over two years. Whilst they rather missed the point the story had to be told by the media at some point, because nobody else is doing anything about this:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1177577.ece.

It must be said that had our leaders acted – even in the last two weeks – we would not have had to put up with this type of sensationalisation, we could have had a reasoned debate and moved forward to a resolution. But no, so we get the same old story regurgitated and nothing moves forward. I urged them not just to talk about prices, but to:

  • ask why is anyone actually buying their OIL in December unless they absolutely have to (in the last four winters we have helped the supply business by taking tens of thousands of orders out of December)
  • make the point we work extremely closely with lots of suppliers and many of them are very careful not to take their prices to a level that can so obviously be questionned
  • explain we are rather more than an OIL buying group as we buy many different products for thousands of members – but we find that our price and industry knowledge makes us the only protection many OIL buyers have
  • make the point that the claim of “profiteering” can only be made if there is proof that the prices that are being charged that appear to be excessive are actually excessive! They did not make that point.

So let’s explain what they should have shown: I am looking at two prices for the same amount of OIL, the same delivery window, the same county and yet the prices are 20ppl apart. The lower price is 69ppl and already nearly 20ppl over the wholesale – hardly cheap! Therefore, the price of 89ppl, and nearly 40ppl over the wholesale price,  is simply unjustifiable and truly an extraordinary deviation away from what any reasonable supplier would consider a true price.

The Sunday Times could have made these points and they could have moved this debate forward, but they went for the easy story. I can’t distance myself from the subject because these price shenanigans are happening, but I am simply desperate for an emergency summit. We need to know why these prices are allowed to escalate, how to do something about it now and plan to ensure it never happens again. An unregulated market that cannot apparently self-regulate itself is a very dangerous animal, especially when the product that it delivers is critical to so many lives and with so many now facing huge fuel poverty issues, as reported every where today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20751708

I do not see how we can wait a moment longer.

Keep warm!