GORDON ‘Diesel’ Maclennan said he felt “vindicated” after Scottish Fuels announced a contract opt out for island retailers on Monday.
The owner of the Back filling station, who left his contract with Scottish Fuels due to an apparent breach of contract, has seen his prices drop dramatically - bringing them in line with those on the mainland.
Speaking in his office at the filling station on Monday Mr Maclennan said: “This is the end result we wanted, where people get the spot price and true competition between wholesalers.”
He added: “It’s up to the other retailers, it’s their choice. We’re delighted now they have the choice to do what we did.”
In what has been dubbed locally the ‘Fuel War’, the announcement from Scottish Fuels comes after weeks of public wrangling between the oil company and the independent retailer, and could lead to a major shift in the way fuel is sold to filling stations on the islands.
A change which Mr Maclennan said would finally allow residents to see the benefit of the five pence Fuel Duty Derogation.
The statement released by Scottish Fuels stated the company had written to retailers in the Western Isles offering the opportunity to end current retail supply contracts and move to ‘spot’ buying from the open market.
It continued: “Scottish Fuels has always stated that the pump prices on the forecourts are solely the responsibility of retailer, and it does not influence this in any way.
“Contracts with retailers are very common throughout Britain and Europe, and are used by all Fuel Suppliers; however, due to the adverse publicity these contracts have attracted on the Western Isles, Scottish Fuels felt it appropriate to give the retailers on the Western Isles the option to re-assess their requirements.
“This action does not change the company’s policy with contracts throughout Britain, and it is not a reaction to any possible further OFT investigation into fuel prices. Scottish Fuels welcomes any future investigation as the company has acted in a fair and reasonable manner over the years, as confirmed by the last two OFT Reports.”
A spokesperson for the company confirmed there was no change in their commitment to supply fuel in the Western Isles. However when asked if it could cost retailers to leave the contracts the spokesperson said: “The company’s view is let’s wait and see if anyone wants to.”
For the full story see this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out now.