11/26/2022

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Plaid push for 1,000 litres heating voucher to help off-grid Carmarthenshire households

PLAID Cymru politicians have reiterated calls for the UK Government to
provide greater support for ‘off grid’ Carmarthenshire households,
pressing for a roll-out of a voucher scheme that would provide 1,000
litres of heating oil for homes not connected to the gas grid.

The calls have been made in Westminster by Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake,
Member of Parliament for Ceredigion – a county where 74% of properties
are not connected to the mains gas grid.

The proposed scheme would allow households to purchase 1,000 litres of
heating oil or equivalent volume of liquid propane gas (LPG) which would
reflect a “commensurate level of support” to that provided for
households connected to the mains gas grid.

During the mini-budget in September, the Conservative Government
revealed proposals for a £100 payment to be support households reliant
on heating oil – a sum which has been described by Cefin Campbell,
Plaid Cymru regional Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales as
“pitiful”.

According to estimates, 39% of Carmarthenshire properties are currently
not connected to the mains gas grid – comparing with a Wales average
of 19%. Such households are reliant on alternative heating sources,
including oil, biomass and LPG gas – which, unlike electricity, are
not subject to a price cap, and therefore liable to fluctuating prices.

At current prices, a voucher worth 1,000 litres of heating oil (the
predominant source of heating for off-gas-grid homes in Wales) would
cost £890.90.

Certas Energy estimates that the average household in the UK uses
around 27,000 kWh of energy per year, which equates to around 1,800
litres of heating oil. 1,000 litres would therefore be enough to support
most families using heating oil through the winter and should be
replicated next year if prices have not fallen.

Cefin Campbell MS, who previously called on the Welsh Government to
provide greater support for off-grid households said:

“As winter approaches, and the cost-of-living crisis intensifies,
it’s clear rural households across Carmarthenshire are likely to be
disproportionally impacted by surging heating prices.

The Tories in Westminster have detailed their plan to help households
connected to the mains gas grid, but we still await clarity on the
pitiful £100 support payment that will be offered to those not
connected to the mains gas grid. Meanwhile, in Carmarthenshire many
households will also fall short of the necessary criteria to gain
additional fuel support announced by the Welsh Government.

As many families face the unenviable choice between heating and eating,
now is the time for the UK Government to pull-up their socks and act to
support rural off-grid households, and such offering of a 1,000 litre
voucher would provide comfort and support to so many at a time of
growing uncertainty.”

Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake MP added:

“It is unacceptable that in an advanced economy such as that of the
UK, thousands of families will be unable to afford to heat their homes
this winter.”

“Plaid Cymru is proposing a voucher scheme for households to purchase
1,000 litres of heating oil or equivalent volume of LPG to heat their
homes this winter. That would represent a commensurate level of support
to that already offered to households covered by the Energy Price
Guarantee.

“Households that are not connected to the mains gas grid are mostly
found in rural and deprived post-industrial areas of Wales. They already
face higher costs due to poor insulation, poor transport infrastructure,
and poor local amenities. To further punish those households with a
substandard support package is immoral.

“We are facing a bleak winter. While the UK Government chooses to
look the other way, Plaid Cymru is providing positive solutions to help
families keep warm.”

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