Presentation on theme: "Community Oil in the North-West November 20 th 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Community Oil in the North-West November 20 th 2013
Background October 2012 – March 2013 The Project attempted to addresses all 3 causes of fuel poverty – Cost of fuel - through brokering – Level of Income - through benefit maximization and budgeting – Energy Efficiency – through advice in the home and referral to Bryson Energy Advice Freephone
Partners Bryson Energy, Consumer Council for NI, Fold Housing Association, NEA, Derry City Council, Derry Credit Union, NIHE (advisory) Oil Federation suppliers who had signed the Consumer Council Customer Charter
Objectives To negotiate a reduction for all orders of heating oil To negotiate smaller deliveries to tenants in fixed areas at no financial penalty To reduce the need to budget by purchasing oil expensively in plastic containers To encourage householders to utilise Credit Union accounts to save for oil/utility bills. To encourage other Credit Unions in the North-West to use their combined strength to get reduced prices for all their members
Why Oil ? Unregulated - no transparency on pricing 68% households in NI (Rural – 76%) Bryson’s cost benefit analysis showed – successful implementation of oil brokering – could have a major impact on fuel poverty Studies by University of Ulster had shown potential savings of 20-22% by bulk buying Budgeting – a need to develop more flexible payment methods that address its high price and fluctuations
Oil Price trends in NI Note: 900 litres of oil increased from less than £300 in 2009 to over £600 earlier this year i.e. doubled in price in four years. The latest Sutherland Tables (Oct 1013) estimate that the cost of heating an average 3 bedroom house is approx £1,600 per annum – approx 3 fills of oil. (£1,300 with condensing boiler).
Derry this week… litres of heating oil in Derry costs 61p per litre compared to 55ppl i.e. 6ppl cheaper when you buy 900 litres in bulk £54 extra to buy 900 litres in smaller lots or approx £162 per year for a fuel poor family (3 fills per year) just to budget Householders are also being charged up to £10 extra for using their credit card. Plastic containers – even more expensive and dangerous means of budgeting – but supplier has no delivery costs.
Bryson Energy Project Press Release - Sept 2012 Oil federation suppliers invited to take part – i.e. those who signed the Consumer Council Customer Charter Two approaches – 1) For Fold residents leafleted selected areas – residents enrol for project Bryson collected contact details (preferably text), fuel usage, typical size of oil order, normal method of payment and (whether or not they were Credit Union members) 2) For Credit Union – referral system using CU web-site, facebook and big screens
Bryson Energy Project Fold residents notified of call for oil Notified oil needs to Bryson Bryson request prices for bulk load from local suppliers Suppliers supply best price by given date and valid period of offer Preferred supplier selected for that week Fold residents and Credit Union notified immediately of cheapest supplier and confirmed price per litre and the time limit
Additional benefits Free and independent energy advice and information Referral to any relevant energy efficiency grants / incentives e.g. homeowners Benefits assessments to maximise incomes.
Issues Trading Standards Service – minimum legal load = 500 litres Price based on bulk order – cancellations can affect price VAT for domestic customers – 5% < 2,300 litres Local jobs - Oil Federation members and customer charter - small local suppliers may not be signed up Price contract between resident and oil supplier Quality assurance – check deliveries accuracy
Findings Big interest raised across NI in oil schemes – interest by media, Councils, fuel poverty/community groups Possible to broker savings Same price per litre for 500L as 900L – achievable Identified real need for cheap budgeting methods for fuel poor as brokered price is not enough on its own Credit Union initiatives need broadened and developed as CU has cheapest loans Not everyone is a Credit Union member
Savings Between 2.2p – 7p per litre against our Consumer Council benchmark Average of 3p per litre less than the preferred supplier’s own advertised local price Average savings of £11 - £35 on 500 litre order or £66 - £210 for average family (3,000 litres) per annum. Plastic container price can be 10ppl + in excess of bulk price - £300 extra per annum
Challenges Trading Standards 500L rule hampered uptake Fuel poor householders unable to buy 500 When removed - we received more orders Large oil suppliers refused to co-operate Non federation members – more quotations Fuel poor are paying dearly for the privilege of budgeting for oil – credit card fees, loyalty schemes, Paypoint, oil drums, etc.
Objectives going forward… To develop an integrated system to support people in not only getting a fair price for fuel but also in getting a fair price in budgeting for their fuel. To persuade the Credit Union movement to promote low cost loan options specifically for the payment of fuel bills.
Belfast Pilot - ongoing To assist 300 households (particularly fuel poor) to buy oil at a reduced price Two locations - Ardoyne in North Belfast and Cregagh in East Belfast) Officially launched on International Credit Union day 17 th October 2013 Partnership with local community groups, political parties, local businesses, credit unions, housing providers etc. Average Savings – Month ONE – 4.95p per litre