Companies that sell heating oil in New Brunswick are asking to increase their prices in advance of this year's heating season.
The companies are asking the Energy and Utilities Board for an interim rate increase to take effect next week that would raise the cost of a standard delivery of 500 litres of home heating fuel by $20 to $30.
A hearing for a rate increase is scheduled before the EUB in December. That is to consider an application to increase the amount that heating oil companies can charge by 4.5 per cent, or about $25 per delivery, including the harmonized sales tax.
However, heating oil companies say that hearing comes too late. According to the companies even if the increase is approved sometime in January or February, most of the heating season will be over so they are seeking the interim rate increase immediately.
The companies say they will give customers a rebate if the EUB eventually rules against them.
The EUB has agreed to hear next week's application for an immediate rate increase.
The price of oil has increased about 30 per cent since New Brunswick started regulating petroleum products in 2006. The volume of heating fuel sold in the province over that time has declined by about 30 per cent as customers reduced consumption or switched to other sources of home heating.
Heating a home with oil in New Brunswick is about 20 per cent more expensive than heating with electricity, and about 30 per cent more expensive than natural gas. Oil heat is about 50 per cent more expensive than heating with a pellet stove and about double the price of heating with a wood stove.