Fuel poverty – distributors get together

Helping vulnerable heating oil users – Steve Davis, Midland Fuel Oils and Mark Askew with Tina Costello of Heart of England
With the help of the Surviving Winter campaign, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) is assisting people in fuel poverty who use heating oil.
Several donations have already been received from oil distributors across the Midlands where an agreement has been signed with the Heart of England Community Foundation to administer the fund, allocating awards to those most in need.
“There are many older vulnerable people now living in fuel poverty across the country,” said the Heart of England Community Foundation.  “We’re delighted to work with the FPS to help support those pensioners in need as the temperature drops.”
The fund’s current balance has around £12k available for grants, which includes £3k raised at last year’s FPS EXPO awards dinner. The FPS also gratefully acknowledge donations made by OFTEC in support of this initiative.
There are 2.28m households in the UK living in fuel poverty.  The scheme is being trialled in the Midlands area which has fuel poverty rates of 15%.  Midlands oil distributors who have supported the fund, and whose customers will benefit, include Midland Fuel Oils, AID Fuels and Nolan Fuel Oils.
Before undertaking a national roll out, the FPS felt it was vital to pilot the scheme across the West Midlands first.  It is hoped that as more oil distributors decide to support the scheme it can be spread across the whole country.
FPS chief executive Mark Askew said: It’s impossible to help everyone, so initially funds will be made available to participating companies’ customers that are pensioners in receipt of pension credit, living in their own property and using fuel oil as their main source of heating.
“Once a payment has been agreed to a household, the distributor that supplies that customer will be informed and receive a subsidy towards the next oil consignment.
“It is expected that payments will be in the region of £100-150 per household and this will be deducted from the total bill for fuel and delivery. After that, the fuel is delivered in the normal manner and the remainder of the bill is paid by the householder.
“Those companies who are participating in the scheme will also provide the entire charitable delivery at below the cost price meaning that the fuel is even less expensive.”