Shropshire Star

Government still 'working through' the details of how they will support people who use heating oil

A retired teacher and former leader of the Liberal Democrats on Shropshire County Council is seeking clarity about how he will be paid support from the Government for energy costs as his home in the Stiperstones Hills, near Minsterley, is not fed from the National Grid.

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Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips, aged 75, claims his heating oil bill for his two-up/ two-down insulated home is expected to double from last year's bill of £2,000 to £4,000.

He has now written to North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan and Ludlow MP Phillip Dunne asking how the promised Government payment of £400 to help with heating bills will be paid.

Mr Phillips said: "I am not on the grid and the sun and wind provides me with limited basic electricity and hot water in the summer and the generator with power for larger appliances such as the washing machine.

"I have two generators, with one on liquid propane gas and the other run on petrol.

"I use liquid propane gas for cooking and gas lighting."

Mr Phillips said his main bill for six months of central heating oil for the house and water in the winter costs £2,000 and "I estimate this will rise to £4,000".

"The Government has promised money to help people with energy costs but I simply do not know how I will receive this and have written to the local MPs and chancellor about this problem.

"There are about 700 premises in Shropshire that are off-grid and 242,000 nationwide.

"In May, the then Chancellor said that every household would receive £400 through their energy supplier but I supply my own.

"This would have been far better done through the council tax charge for premises."

Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, said: "This Government does not care about rural areas and is too busy experimenting with our economy to be across the detail when it comes to energy bills.

"I doubt Jacob Rees-Mogg has ever had to fill up a heating oil tank or stock up on LPG like families in Shropshire.

"Thousands of people in the who live off the gas grid have seen their bills double or triple over the last year and yet have only been offered £100 support and no detail over how they will be able to claim that money.

"Those who also are not connected to mains electricity will also miss out on the £400 being given to everyone else because it comes directly off bills and no alternative is in place for people off the grid.

"The Liberal Democrats want the energy price cap to be extended to people who live in off-grid homes so that they can have confidence they will be able to heat their homes this winter.

"Any support payments should also be as simple as possible and offered to everyone."

A spokesman for the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said further details for residential customers will be announced "in due course".

The Government has made a number of announcements depending on people's circumstances.

Households not on standard gas or electricity contracts, such as those living in park homes or on heat networks – and so outside the scheme – will receive support equivalent to both the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The business which has the direct commercial relationship with the energy supplier (for example the park owner) will receive support via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and the Government will be introducing legislation so that they have to pass the benefit directly on to residents. The government says customers do not need to take any action in order to receive this support, which they will receive by the end of the year.

They say that all domestic households will also receive the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme.

"We are working through exactly how different groups of consumers will receive this, using the most practical and tested routes available," said a spokesman.

Those people who use electricity, but don’t use gas for heating, such as heating oil, will still receive support through the Energy Price Guarantee for their electricity costs, as well as the Energy Bills Support Scheme, the Government says.

"If you are not able to receive a support for your heating costs through the Energy Price Guarantee - for example because you live in an area of the UK that is not served by the gas grid - we will also provide an additional payment of £100 to compensate for the rising costs of other fuels such as heating oil," added the spokesman.

"This is intended to guarantee you will receive support equivalent to those on both the electricity and gas grid for the total cost of your energy."