Fuel traders back out of installment plan

5th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

5 April 2006, BRUSSELS — In contrast to federal government promises, consumers are unable to pay their heating oil bills in instalments.

5 April 2006

BRUSSELS — In contrast to federal government promises, consumers are unable to pay their heating oil bills in instalments.

The Federation of Fuel Traders (BRAFCO) has said the practice of spread payments is unfeasible, news service VRT reported on Wednesday.

This is despite government promises in September that consumers would be able to pay their bills spread out over several months.

The scheme was part of a series of measures the government agreed on to compensate the public for the high cost of oil.

The main thrust of the plan was a reduction in the price of heating oil.

Consumers could also choose to immediately pay 25 percent of the bill and the rest at a later date without interest. That scheme came into effect on 1 January.

But this measure now appears to be unattainable for fuel suppliers.

"The traders must themselves pay the entire amount within three days to their own suppliers," federation spokesman Johan Mattart said.

"That 25 percent is too low. If suppliers allowed that, they would face liquidity problems and that they can run that risk."

The federation is now demanding urgent talks with federal Energy Minister Marc Verwilghen.

But the ministry is adamant that a spread payment system is also feasible for wholesale suppliers.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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