Rising heating oil costs push more low-income Nova Scotians to ask for help, says charity


The price of dwelling heating oil has seen enormous will increase since this time final yr, and low-income Nova Scotians are feeling the crunch.

Denise Daley, the manager director of Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank in Halifax, is seeing meals financial institution purchasers having to select between paying for meals and medicine or dwelling heating. It’s making her fear concerning the winter months. 

According to Natural Resources Canada, the typical weekly worth of furnace oil within the Nova Scotia communities it tracks ranges from $2.12 per litre in Truro, to as a lot as $2.189 per litre in Sydney.

Prices in these communities are 73 per cent and 81 per cent greater, respectively, than they have been a yr in the past.

Daley mentioned as the value climbs, her group is seeing an unprecedented demand for help.

“We are overwhelmed with purposes at the moment for our emergency help fund, however we’re making an attempt our utmost greatest to catch up and to meet the calls for that we’re seeing,” Daley mentioned in an interview. “At this level, we’ve got paused the fund due to the plethora of purposes which can be in.”

Natural Resources Canada says the typical worth for a litre of furnace oil in Halifax is $2.183 per litre, up from $1.212 a yr in the past.

Daley mentioned Parker Street’s emergency help fund can be utilized for medicine, heating or electrical energy costs, and is paid immediately to the utility or pharmacy. The most the group pays at a time is $200, so as to assist probably the most households potential. 

Daley mentioned inflation in all areas of life is taking its toll on many Nova Scotians. She mentioned often electrical energy is the most typical bill that is out of individuals’s attain, however furnace oil is creeping up.

“So far we we’re at 80 [families asking for help with oil], in contrast to final yr, being about 40 for oil help. So it is undoubtedly climbing,” Daley mentioned, including they’re anticipating more requests when they reopen purposes. 

Applications additionally opened la week in the past for the province’s Heating Assistance Rebate Program, which offers up to $200 to assist low-income Nova Scotians with dwelling heating costs. 

Low stock inflicting excessive costs

Vijay Muralidharan, managing director of Calgary-based R Cube Economic Consulting, says the rising price of heating oil is generally being brought on by low inventories around the globe. 

“So Russia’s battle on Ukraine created excessive fuel costs. Now when you have got excessive fuel costs, low-income international locations or middle-income international locations [that] run on fuel have to look for alternate options. What’s the choice? Diesel gas and heating oil,” Muralidharan mentioned.

He mentioned with greater demand, refineries have not been in a position to sustain, and shares have been depleted.

“We are getting into this winter season with the bottom stock ever recorded within the historical past,” he mentioned. “This is unexpected.”

And Muralidharan predicts costs will proceed to climb because the climate cools and the European Union embargo on Russian oil and fuel begins in December.

Daley is worried about what this implies for the meals financial institution’s purchasers, however has hope.

“We are apprehensive, nevertheless we’ve got religion locally as a result of as soon as we’ve got funds, we give it out,” she mentioned. “The more funds we get in our emergency help fund, the more folks we are able to help. So we’ve got religion locally that they will come on out and ship a donation.”


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