At his party’s recent conference, Labour leader Ed Miliband MP promised to freeze gas and electricity prices for up 20 months, assuming of course that Labour wins the next general election.
Mr. Miliband also pledged to reform the supply of gas and electricity and scrap the current energy regulator, Ofgem. Some viewed his proposals as a welcome respite from rising energy costs; others, including former Labour minister Lord Mandelson and UKIP’s Henry Reilly, queried the viability and applicability of Labour’s energy policies.
However, millions of Brits in rural areas found themselves asking an altogether different question, ‘What about us?’ For whilst frozen gas and electricity prices might benefit millions living in the UK’s town and cities – their impact in rural areas will at best be limited. Beyond the mains gas network, homeowners are reliant upon a variety of fuels, including home heating oil, solid fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic space and water heating.
In many rural areas, home heating oil remains the dominant fuel choice, having all but now disappeared from the UK’s towns and cities. However, despite some 1.5 million Britons remaining dependent upon home heating oil, it didn’t get a mention in Ed Miliband’s speech. Neither did LPG. Nor did solid fuel.
However, Labour has today confirmed to OilFiredUp.com, that the party is ‘exploring’ whether the price freeze should be extended to other fuels, including heating oil. The party also reiterated its commitment to scrap and replace the Coalition’s flagship energy policy, the Green Deal.
Responding to questions from OilFiredUp.com, a spokesperson for Labour said, “At the moment, we are committed to freezing electricity and gas bills. This will apply to around 94% of all UK household energy bills. We will be exploring whether the price freeze could include other fuels, such as heating oil, in the months ahead. While the price freeze is in place, we put in place significant structural reforms of the energy market.
“And where David Cameron’s Green Deal has failed miserably, we will do more to help consumers reduce their energy usage. Since the Green Deal’s launch, only 384 deals have been signed up to and just twelve have gone live, so we will replace it with a new Energy Save scheme that works to help reduce the energy we use.”
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