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OFT offers advice on preparing now for winter fuel bills 1 August 2008

The Office of Fair Trading has produced an information sheet advising consumers on how to try and limit the impact that increases in fuel costs will have on their bills over the coming months. A copy of the information sheet is attached to this media release.

The emphasis of the information is on assessing likely fuel costs and budgeting to meet those costs. Information is also included on ways to reduce energy consumption and on improving the energy efficiency of the home.

The information sheet is available from the OFT’s office in Lord Street, Douglas, telephone 686500, or from its website www.gov.im/oft

Chairman of the OFT, Bill Henderson MHK, commenting on the current and possible further increases in fuel costs this autumn/winter said “I am very concerned about current and possible further increases in fuel costs, particularly for those people whose income falls just above benefit levels. I am also concerned for our middle income community who will also be feeling the bite. There is little that can be done to prevent cost increases because of the global market but I am determined that people should be given the information they need to try and help them through the coming difficult period. The OFT offers budgeting advice to consumers. I would urge anyone who needs help with managing budgets to get in touch with the OFT on 686500”

Mr. Henderson went on – “I am determined that this Office does what it can to help people. I will also be instigating meetings with the MEA, Manx Gas and the major fuel suppliers of the Island over the forthcoming months to examine their pricing structures and to stress that suppliers should do as much as they can to reduce the impact of global energy prices on their customers. The OFT has alerted others working in Government to the potential problems and I have raised my concerns with the Chief Minister. I am hopeful that this will help determine recommendations for positive Government strategies in the near future to help people who need it”.

"One of the most important things people have to remember is that fuel and energy consumption in their homes is now at its lowest point, so now is a good time to start saving. In the winter people will be using their heating and other appliances more and will be paying for the fuel they use then at the new tariff rates. That is when they will be receiving the 'big bills' and when the price rises will be really felt. It is crucial that our consumers are aware of this and are planning ahead as far as they can.” Mr. Henderson finished.

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