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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 20:53 GMT
Park residents in gas price trap
Marina Park
More than 160 residents at Marina Park want natural gas
People living on a mobile home park in Kent say they feel as if they are living in the dark ages because they cannot afford their gas bills.

Residents at Marina Park in Hoo, near Rochester, use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) but soaring prices mean they now pay about 100 a month.

More than 160 of the 305 home owners want to change to natural gas but cannot afford the 277,000 connection.

Centrica said the quotation was highly competitive based on the work involved.

In the summer it is lovely but in the winter it is ridiculous
Brian Upton

Hilary Ross, 69, has lived at the park for 13 years and said many people are cutting back on their gas consumption because they cannot afford to pay for LPG.

"This is like living in the dark ages," she said. "Whatever the price of LPG we have to pay it - we have no alternative."

Mrs Ross is campaigning for government help with the cost of laying gas pipes.

Her MP, Bob Marshall-Andrews, has written to energy minister Malcolm Wicks but has so far not received a reply.

Lower costs

"If my wife and I were on just the basic pension it would be very tough," said resident Brian Upton.

"In the summer it is lovely, because we don't use much gas but in the winter it is ridiculous."

Centrica said the cost of connection would be lower per home if more residents wanted to be connected.

"We are sorry the quotation has not been well received," said a spokeswoman.

"We operate in a highly competitive market place and all our mains laying rates are based on commercially tendered contracts."

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