With the need to combat fuel poverty and cut CO2 emissions high on the government agenda, the FPS is urging the government to offer additional help to off grid energy customers. This includes offering incentives to replace an estimated 900,000 old oil boilers with condensing boilers which would save every customer at least 20% off their fuel bills and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time.
Currently, oil heating is still the cheapest form of energy for off grid homes with the annual average cost to heat a 3-bedroom home in Great Britain using an oil condensing boiler £793 – compared to £1548 (LPG condensing boiler), £1600 (electricity) and £1038 (mains gas).
With some MPs promoting oil buying groups as a way to cut costs when purchasing oil heating, the FPS is also keen to highlight the pros and cons of purchasing oil in this way as some consumers are finding that buying groups are not always a benefit. The FPS is asking MPs, the government and the 1.5m off grid householders to examine all ways of purchasing oil before making a decision.
“Small, local buying groups in an immediate neighbourhood can benefit from the saving the distributor makes on travel time and costs,” says FPS chief executive Mark Askew.
“However, groups should be realistic about the level of savings to be made. Consumers get a pretty good deal and, with low margins, there is very little leeway to give price reductions and still remain viable! Many claims of huge savings are actually comparing the highest quotes – possibly artificially high from a distributor who doesn’t want the business – with the lowest quote, as some of these high prices are just not feasible.”
A copy of the Best Practice guide to Oil Buying Groups is available on the Oilsave website www.oilsave.org.uk