Ritchie calls on Consumer Council to investigate gas cylinder price hike

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called on the Consumer Council to investigate the substantial increase in the standing charge for Calor Gas cylinders from £35 to £142. Speaking to Newry Times, she said: “I have been inundated with inquiries from constituents regarding the increase in standing charge for Calor Gas tanks from £35 to £142. The standing charge was £35 for many years and undoubtedly due to market forces and the economic recession, Calor Gas unilaterally decided to increase it with no consultation with customers. This is totally unacceptable, and imperils the financial situation of many people who rely solely on Calor Gas for heating and cooking purposes.” Ritchie continued, “Immediately, I raised it with the Utility Regulator stating that this relentless pursuit of some of the most vulnerable in our society; the elderly; those in receipt of low incomes who are already in fuel poverty must end. The Utility Regulator has now informed me that he has no power to act upon or investigate such increases. Therefore, I am now urging the Consumer Council to undertake an immediate inquiry as to the reasons why such increases came about and to bring about a series of recommendations with mitigation measures which would be capable of acceptance and implementation by Calor Gas to help those who have endured such increases.” “I have also asked our spokesperson on the Economy, Patsy McGlone to investigate this matter via the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Measures must be found to dilute the impact of high energy costs which can result in deepening fuel poverty on people in our communities,” she added.
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