Showing their support for this year’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on the 29 November, trade association UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) is lobbying rural MPs to ask the next Government to implement policies that will help the forgotten rural fuel poor.
Organised by National Energy Action (NEA), Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is designed to raise knowledge of some of the issues faced by individuals living in cold homes as a result of fuel poverty.
Guy Pulham Chief Executive of UKIFDA comments: “This year the national awareness day is being held at the end of November instead of February in a bid to encourage householders to seek support when they need it most and we welcome this new November date.
“The NEA estimates that fuel poverty affects 3.5 million UK households – roughly 12.9% of all households, and it is no surprise that fuel poverty rates are higher in rural areas. Off grid properties tend to be older and poorly insulated so are far more difficult – and expensive – to heat effectively. UKIFDA and its members want to ensure that whatever political party comes into office in December they develop a more holistic domestic energy policy that will address fuel poverty and carbon emission reduction simultaneously, rather than as separate goals.”
In addition to lobbying MPs, UKIFDA has advice for the 1.5m heating oil consumers across the UK on low-cost ways to keep their homes warm this winter, as part of its planned support for this year’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on the 29 November.
UKIFDA Membership Manager, Dawn Shakespeare comments: “Fuel poverty is often caused by a combination of low income, high energy prices and inefficient homes. But the good news is there is plenty that can be done to support those living in fuel poverty – low-cost steps to boost energy efficiency and reduce energy bills – and to help people stay warm this winter.
“We strongly advise and encourage householders to order heating oil early, when demand is low. Bad weather in the height of winter can disrupt deliveries to remote and rural areas, resulting in individuals running out of fuel or having to pay higher costs for emergency deliveries.
“It’s a good idea to set up monthly payments with your local oil heating distributor in order to manage your energy needs more effectively. This means you should avoid being hit with bigger bills during the winter months and can plan for your energy expenditure more easily.
“The good news for those on oil is that recent figures released by independent provider of home heating costs, Sutherland Tables says the cost to heat your home with oil is down in most regions of the UK by between 2% and 8% when compared to last October. Heating oil also continues to deliver the most cost effective method of heating to the off grid consumer, with Sutherland tables, reporting that to heat a standard 3 bedroom home in the UK is £1106 per annum with an oil condensing boiler compared to an air source heat pump radiator system and underfloor system at £1381 per annum, wood pellets at £1426 per annum, an LPG condensing boiler at £1695 per annum and electricity economy 7 is £2060 per annum.
“It is also important to ensure you check if you are entitled to any benefits such as Winter Fuel Allowance and other support. Your local Citizens Advice will be able to help you access this help.”
Tony Brown Technical Manager at UKIDA adds: “Make sure your boiler is serviced on a regular basis by an OFTEC registered engineer and ideally before winter sets in, too, so any potential issues can be fixed before becoming major problems. It is worth upgrading to a condensing boiler if your current boiler is old, as this will increase energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills.
“Modern high efficiency oil condensing boilers are on average more than 90% efficient. Installing an oil condensing boiler is an excellent way to reduce running costs compared with non-condensing boilers and a fuel saving of up to 30% can be expected. A more efficient oil condensing boiler can also reduce CO2 emissions by 30%.
“Often rural homes are more expensive to heat as they tend to be older and without the inbuilt efficiencies of many modern houses. Insulating your home is one relatively cheap way of keeping the heat in and energy costs down.
“UKIFDA has a range of money and energy-saving tips on their website Oilsave.org.uk, including how to make your existing heating system more efficient and how much a condensing boiler could save you, along with other ways to heat your home for less this winter.
“The Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is a fantastic initiative that highlights the issues those living in fuel poverty are facing and the fact there is a lot of support available – and encourages householders to get help when they need it.”