TWO north-east men are looking to set up a community group to buy domestic heating fuel direct from suppliers to ease the impact of escalating energy prices.
Richard MacNamee and Russell Ward are hoping to drum up interest at Alford, the surrounding area and beyond to generate enough purchasing power to negotiate significant savings.
Mr MacNamee, of Whitehouse, near Alford, developed the idea in response to the steady rise in his fuel bills.
He said: “I truly believe there’s no way back on the cost of oil and fully expect it will continue to rise.
“This year will be the first when pensioners and people on low incomes have to make a choice between heating or eating.”
Mr MacNamee said savings of 5%, 10%, 15% or possibly even 20% are realistic, providing enough people sign up to the scheme.
Rough calculations he has made on a 1,200-user group buying on average 2.5million litres of oil at 62p a litre suggest a potential saving of more than £400 a year for a family living in a traditional house.
But he said bigger savings are possible if more people sign up. He is asking people to register their interest on the Grampian Life forum.
“If we have a reasonable density of users in one postcode area – for example AB33 – then those people could canvass their neighbours, especially the elderly, who sadly may not use Grampian Life to see if the numbers can be boosted even further.
“This group can then do what my research tells me is beginning to happen up and down the country and approach suppliers as a buying group which can expect – based upon the numbers of course – sizeable discounts.
“This can apply to oil, LPG and mains gas.”
And Mr MacNamee said there is scope for extending it region-wide across Grampian if there is enough interest.
The forum’s administrator, Mr Ward, of Alford, is backing Mr MacNamee’s plan and will help him run the scheme if it gets off the ground.
Mr Ward said: “There’s quite a few groups around the country that have been getting organised like this.
“Richard was saying that he had been looking into setting up a co-operative and it wouldn’t be too difficult. Because there would be no profit, there would be no taxes.”
People who are interested can register at www.gramp ianlife.co.uk/ and leave their name and first part of their postcode, for example AB33.