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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just a note...

Here's a note from the Public Utilities Board website concerning the winter fuel blends. It should be enough to bring my numbers back in line with what I do measure. In other words, accuracy is back!

"With this adjustment, the pricing methodology for the calculation of the maximum price of
furnace oil heating fuel and diesel motor fuel on the island will be adjusted to reflect changes in
the specifications of the products supplied in the market. The specific changes are:
the maximum price of furnace oil heating fuel will be calculated based on 100% No. 2
oil, replacing the blend of 75% jet fuel and 25% No. 2 oil; and,
the maximum price of diesel motor fuel supplied on the island will be calculated based on
100% ULSD (ultra low sulphur diesel), replacing the blend of 75% ( kerosene and 25% ultra low sulphur)."


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hi to all...
Been busy this last week on the hustings, and so, I'll keep it short!

Here's what I have for this weeks price change to happen Thursday morning.
  • Heating and stove oils show down by 1.05 cents per litre.
  • Diesel shows down by 8/10ths of a cent, and...
  • Gasoline shows up by 6/10ths of a cent.
That's it for me for this week!

I will finish off with one last word...

If you deem it too political, then please tune out.

For the past fourteen years, I have worked closely on behalf of the consumer in pursuit of the complete removal of the HST from all forms of heat.

On Monday coming, you will be given the chance to vote for a political party here in Canada that will act to remove this evil and unnecessary tax from an important commodity that we use everyday, and that also is deemed as a necessity of life and a growing health concern for some. While we have met with success provincially in removing the tax, the federal wing of the New Democratic Party under Jack Layton has as part of it's platform, the removal of the remaining five per cent HST on heat.

We are THIS CLOSE to having the tax removed once and for all.

I am asking my readers nationally and here in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to keep the NDP in mind when they consider where to park their vote come election day. The removal of the remaining HST on all heat will come as soon as 100 days after the election of a strong Layton mandate.

It's been so long, and we are so close...

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, April 25, 2011

Victory last week on the tax off heat
What's for this week, I wonder?

Sorry I haven't been around for a bit.

Out doing the door to door thing, and loving it, of course!

I hope that everyone out there is going to get out and vote. Remember that you alone can sometimes effect change, and it's a change we'll all be looking at if the polls are any indication.

Anyway, here's what I have for this week, with six days reporting. My gasoline number may be off slightly because of a lost day of data at the start of the session, so that number is reflective of five days of data:
  • Stove and heating oils show a drop of 1.01 cents per litre (remember the kerosene!)
  • Diesel shows a drop of 9/10ths of a cent, and ...
  • Gasoline shows an added half cent at this point.
That's it for tonight!...

I'll be back tomorrow night, probably later than usual because of the door knocking thing. I hope I can be forgiven for promoting the "5% off heat" agenda! After all, it was fourteen years between successes in getting provincial taxes off heat, I figured that I'd get the early start on the federal tax off heat!...

Any questions, be sure to drop me a note!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hi to all...
Here's what I have for this week's price changes, along with some "news" from the markets for this week.
Provincial taxes off heat
One small victory will lead to another

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, April 19, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will experience a slight change in some prices this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this Thursday. That's according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Heating fuels show "down"
"Markets are jittery and it shows in the numbers. I'm tracking price volatility that doesn't show growth or retreat in oil's future," Murphy said. "Oil showed a retreat two weeks ago, but has remained steady since then with only slight movement in refined commodities. The volatility is telling me that economic news is keeping oil steady as the markets are unsure of where the economy is going. Stove oils show 92/100ths down and that may be pointing the way for heating oils."

Numbers show slight change for transportation fuels
"The numbers are also close to that one cent change-over with the transportation fuels as well with diesel showing a 1.1 cent a litre drop and gasoline up by 1.3 cents. Diesel fuel is probably backing down slightly as a result of the performance of other distillates like heating and stove oils and may, in fact, be somewhat more than this number as a result of kerosene prices being dragged down as well. Gasoline is most likely up as a result of entering the time of year for the run-up in prices as we get nearer to the traditional start of the US summer driving season and a draw-down in gasoline inventories last reporting session."

Province drops their take on HST
"Good news in this budget for consumers of heat. Our work is now half done.The province dropped the collection of the province's portion of the HST today after our group's push to have the tax removed nearly fourteen years ago (1997) and one petition ago (March, 2001). To say that we're happy about this budget move is an understatement and to have the NDP and the party's leader, Ms. Lorraine Michael take up the charge on the issue several years ago (2003) helped push the issue to the hearts and minds of Newfoundland and Labrador consumers, and kept the issue in the limelight. But she also managed to keep the rebate in place, making the province follow the province of Saskatchewan in having both the tax removed from heat, and also ensuring the continuation of a rebate program for those who need it most."

"She deserves the gratitude of the province for that."

Federal portion needs to be addressed
"It's soon time to turn the focus of the HST on heat issue to the federal government. We know that the federal wing of the NDP has the removal of the tax on heat as part of their platform, but it is time to get rid of the HST on it for good. The fact that we now have three provinces without a tax on heat where previously all had it, should be mandate enough to have the tax removed from this necessity of life for all Canadians. If, after this election is over, the federal portion of this tax is not addressed, then I promise all consumers in this country that there will be a petition drive started to get a "Cross Canada consensus" to have the tax removed, once and for all."

"Spread the word. I'll be looking for help."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
The claim of victory!

We're halfway there!

As Danny Williams, and now Lorraine Michael said, "We got it!"

Sounds familiar, right?

Today, after being in the budget lock-down, and finding out that the tax had been removed, at least on a provincial level, I had to breathe a sigh of relief that the mission was halfway there.


Because in today's budget "We got it!" too...

As of October, the provincial portion of the HST will no longer be collected from your heat bill. It was a long, hard haul to this payday, but I am proud to say that the petition drive provincially is now cancelled and we'll start to work on getting that 5 percent removed from heat on a federal level.

Thanks to everyone who participated, especially those who remember signing the petition from our consumer group, and working for the group, all those years ago as well.

"We got it!"....

Never let a dream die, folks!

To add to today's victory for consumers here, there will still be a rebate program for those who need it most; those who will still find it hard to make ends meet. That's the part that Lorraine Michael worked so hard on to maintain, so, a big thanks to her for that!

I'll be back later tonight with another update on where prices will be going for this week's price change.



Friday, April 15, 2011

Off and running...

So, now you know...

The petition drive has started and now it's your turn to help out by taking this link to the petition and getting it printed, send it back and get the mission done.

Here's the link...

We're hoping to have this back in our hands by the second week of May for presentation in the House of Assembly so, the faster this comes back to us, the better.

Or: You can sign it online at this link here.

The sooner that the government gets the message to remove the tax on heat, the better...

Thanks for everyone's help and encouragement on this. It's a monumental effort that, at this point in time, has to be done.

I'll be in touch!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

A time for action...

"Whereas; the high cost of energy is proving to be a hardship on the people of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and...

whereas; heat is a basic necessity of life and a lack of heat is a health concern,...

we, the undersigned residents of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador hereby urge the House of Assembly to ask the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to remove the provincial portion of the HST from all forms of heat"...

Hi to all...

Ten years ago, on March 28, 2001 our consumer group presented a petition to the House of Assembly requesting that the government of the day remove the tax on heat. Some 55, 000 consumers and residents of the province signed the petition to remove the tax, with those signatures being gathered over a period covering three weekends.

It was one of the largest petitions presented in the House of Assembly up to that point.

All three political parties spoke to the tax on this necessity of life with the governing liberals keeping the tax in place, as they would suffer a loss in revenue, and the conservatives promising to remove the tax if they ever formed the government.

How times have changed!

For the past seven years since the conservatives have formed government, and again on Tuesday, this government will again tell the people of the province of a burgeoning surplus all from improving oil royalties. We will be told that the province’s coffers are again, overflowing with the benefits of added oil revenue.A small part of that reason will also be due to the fact that, with the failure of the government to remove the tax on heat all those years ago, several million of that surplus may very well be because someone in this province had to make a choice between heat and food.

Again, on the tenth anniversary of the presentation of the petition in the House of Assembly, the people of the province will be asked to sign a petition to be presented to the premier and finance minister asking his government for the removal of the tax on heat.

This time it is different and, in some ways, a little more desperate. Oil prices are forecast to remain high for the long term, as are electricity rates also forecast to escalate in the coming years. There is no sign of relief in sight.

That quest begins Friday, April 15th with the start of a movement to get the taxes taken off this necessity of life and also a growing health concern for everyone. With projections of rising electricity costs to consumers yet to come, and no retreat in sight for petroleum product users alike, consumers and residents will be asked to participate in sending a clear message to government. Collecting a tax on a necessity of life is unacceptable in a time when this government (and the federal government) both are enjoying the benefits from our natural resources, and just a short twenty four hours after government-owned NALCOR has applied to the Public Utilities Board for an electricity rate increase to come to consumers on July 1st, 2011...because of the rising cost of oil.

Clearly, it is time to give back to the people who will need it most! Energy costs are rising and no one deserves to pay for a necessity of life.

Tomorrow afternoon, the prayer of petition will be made available on the NDP Party website at and also listed on my blog for download and completion. There will be an address to return the signed petition to.

As well, the petition will be emailed, or mailed, to every municipality that is in the 2010 municipal directory. We're hoping that every municipality will post this petition where everyone in their respective communities can avail and sign it, and then send it back to us for presentation in the House of Assembly.

If you do not have an email address but wish to help us in our quest to gather names for this petition, we're asking you to phone us at the NDP offices at (709)729-0270 and we will forward a petition off to you.

Please pass the petition around and get others to participate in this exercise.

There is no greater need, and the time has come to do this now...


Oil is trading higher.

Electricity rates are going up.

...and someone out there is being forced to make tough choices.


George Murphy

Group researcher

Consumer Group for Fair Gas prices

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Numbers are in
But can they be trusted?

Hi to all...
After last weeks "shenanigans", I don't know what's going to happen with the numbers this week. I'll be blunt.
But, here's what I do have.
I haven't changed my sources or the way I have done things.
Let's see if they did...and see if my numbers come back on track. I know the "Stove" number is solid.
  • Heating and stove oils show an added 2.88 cents up. Keep in mind again that the stove oil number is a rough guide on where heating oil numbers could go.The number is the same as the stove number in the non-winter season. During winter, they throw in kerosene into the stove oil number and that acts as an antifreeze agent.
  • Diesel shows an added 2.0 cents a litre up, and...
  • Gasoline shows an added 8/10ths of a cent.
There is volatility in the numbers.
The first five days of this session showed oil and related commodities up and still climbing from last week, all on steady demand and a draw-down on inventories.
And then the IMF and IEA weighed into the fray on Monday.
The last two days with the oil sell-off, numbers have been all over the place. It's a sign that markets are unsure and that there's some doubt over continuing demand for oil and it's related, refined product. That fact showed itself with the International Energy Agency adjusting its world demand figures for oil downwards. The reasons for that are quite apparent: that world economic recovery could be hindered by high energy prices.
That started the retreat and oil's strategic withdrawal.
That's it for me for this week, but keep an eye to your email for a special invite from this poster for later this week!


George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here we go again...

Five days of data are in, and no, the numbers are not down.

Here's what I have for the first five days of this session, but I also have to warn that, because of the major disparities between the figures last week, I can't atone for the accuracy for this week coming. Either way, there's probably enough there to warrant that something is going to happen:
  • Heating and stove oils show an added 3.27 cents a litre up.
  • Gasoline is up by 1.3 cents, and...
  • Diesel is up by 2.3 cents a litre.
I'll be in touch with updates on Monday and have a final figure for everyone on Tuesday night.



Thursday, April 07, 2011

Numbers off?

Sounds strange, I know, but true.

The numbers for heating oil were off but we already knew that that might happen. As I said often before that the winter heating blend was different and that we could only go by the stove oil number to use as a guide during winter months until I find a source for kerosene. That's because kerosene is used as an anti-freeze agent during the winter months on a 75/25% mixture. That's why the stove oil number was within the margin for error.

As for gasoline? Different story...

I've checked and re-checked, and they still show the same: that increases should have happened that would have taken gas up by five cents a litre.


Yes, but now people may be questioning my accuracy.

I've checked three sources online and all are showing that my numbers are dead on, so, I can't explain the differences. I even went to three different gasoline types and they all showed increases over the past week ranging close to 6.6 cents a litre on gasoline that was supposed to be there. That was for a reformulated blend out of New York harbour, as it is known in the markets.


I can't say, but it has been mentioned before that someone may be making calls to someone down the line to hold back on putting the full charge to the consumer in an attempt to discredit. But tonight, the reality is that we got tagged with 2.5 cents at the pumps rather than the five I had, and I really can't go searching for that extra 2.5 cents.

Maybe they made a mistake in their numbers, after all?...


Maybe they're "banking on it" for later!



Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Oil gains
Consumers to pay
Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, April 05, 2011- Consumers will be taking another hit at the pumps this week, and prices for heating oil and diesel will continue to take a tole on consumers. That's from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Blame it on Libya, the situation in the Middle East, North African unrest, or even steady demand, but the fact is that consumers should be pissed that, as a country that produces more than it consumes, we are subject to paying for fuels based on the world condition. I'm getting a little tired of hearing that our oil resources are sailing away for refining and to keep Uncle Sam happy, while we have our own citizenry freezing in the dark because of prices driven by speculators. It's high time that we saw the concept of 'Made in Canada pricing' for our own people through, and be damned the bottom line of the corporate bottom line." Murphy said.

"It's time we put in place a 'Newfoundland and Labrador first' policy on the further development of our own offshore resources, and it's time to start looking after our own people. We're just not seeing the full benefits of our resources. Food bank use is at an all-time high, the heating rebate buys a little less than a quarter tank of fuel now, food prices will continue upwards because of fuel surcharges, and pensioners haven't seen an increase in years. We have people choosing between food and keeping warm, and nothing is being done for the ones who need it most."

"The oil beat goes on."

"The numbers for this week are not good. Heating and stove oils are showing up again, this time by 1.24 cents a litre, diesel numbers are up by another 1.3 cents a litre and gasoline shows either 4.9 or an even five cents a litre increase on the way for Thursday.

"The only hope there is right now for us to see any relief is one of two things: a complete banking system collapse in the European Union, or a sudden drop in demand. While countries like Portugal have been showing signs of trouble in recent days with a huge bail-out needed for it's banking system, we still have not seen solid evidence of a drop in demand, especially in the United States. Prices still haven't taken their full hold of consumers pocketbooks yet."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, April 04, 2011

Six days out and the seventh coming on...

Update, if you can call it that...

there won't be any drops in prices this week, suffice to say. here's what I have after six days:
  • Heating and stove oils now show an added 1.05 cents a litre up.
  • Diesel shows up by 1.2 cents, and...
  • Gasoline now is up by 4.8 cents a litre.
I have to ask all of you out there "Do you think it's time for action on the tax on heat?". It became a topic during question period again after Lorraine Michael, leader of the provincial New Democratic Party, brought it up in the House of assembly here.

Drop me a line if you think so.

It's already a federal issue with the federal wing of the NDP carrying the removal of tax on heat as part of the party's platform.

I'll be back tomorrow night with the rest of the bad news for this week. Either way, we're not going to dodge this one and your heating bill will go up this week...



Sunday, April 03, 2011

After five days...

Here's a quick synopsis of what I have coming for this week, after today's trading:
  • Heating and stove oils show a modest 8/10ths of a cent increase.
  • Diesel shows an added penny to prices, and...
  • Gasoline shows an added 4.6 cents a litre...Up!
I'll be back tomorrow night with a further addition to the numbers.