Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Price of Heating Oil and Coal


If you Believe you are being
Complain to the Authorities

Heating Oil Pricing

I have written several posts in the last 12 months on the excessive cost of heating oil in the Republic of Ireland. When compared with the North of Ireland, just up the road a few kilometers, where the price of home heating oils is some 20%+ cheaper. Much of this massively inflated cost is due to Irish Taxes - Carbon Tax, and VAT.

What concerned me a great deal was that in Northern Ireland there was a reasonably healthy variation in price between the lowest and the highest prices, but in the Republic the variation was minute.

I made a complaint to the Competition Authority at the time. I was gratified to see that my individual and personal complaint was taken seriously and was entered into a database of similar complaints. If and when sufficient evidence is accumulated, legal proceedings will ensue.

As late as 3rd May 2012 the Director of Public Prosecutions had a conviction against a Galway supplier who was fined.

The Price of Coal and other Solid Fuels

Price fixing is one thing, price gouging is quite another. Price fixing and cartels are a game generally player by the larger players. Price gouging in coal and other solid fuel prices is played by mainly the small players. That is not to say the larger players do not also participate in the game.

A bag of smokeless coal can sell for anything between €14 per 40Kg bag to €21 per 40 Kg bag. That represents a major rip-off and major price gouging.

I am more concerned about solid fuel prices in one way because there is a national trend towards the use of stoves and other solid fuel heaters. This trend is driven by two factors:

(1) The high price of Heating Oil mainly pushed by Government taxes, making the use of oil heating non-viable for many households.
(2) The Recession / Depression gripping the country, whereby many households can only afford fuel on a week by week basis, and where they are having to seek the cheapest possible heating options.

If you experience Rip-Off prices or cartel behaviour - please do not just sit there and moan about it Make a Formal Complaint.

It costs nothing to make a formal complaint - just your time and a little effort. For the most part staff at the national agencies are very helpful, and you will make a difference.


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