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Off-grid households face 92% price hike in heating oil

March 21, 2022

Heating oil has increased in price by more than 90 per cent year on year, with a litre now costing as much as £1.13, research by Fuel Bank Foundation has revealed.

The fuel poverty charity’s Oil Tracker, which tracks the real cost to consumers of filling a heating oil tank, found that 1,000 litres of oil now cost on average £937.16, compared to £480 in March last year.

More than 1.5 million households in the UK rely on heating oil to heat their homes, the majority of which are in rural locations and don’t have access to the main gas network.

Unlike electricity and mains gas supply, which are regulated and offer consumers a level of price and supply protection, the solid fuel market is currently unregulated, leaving consumers exposed to higher fuel costs, with oil prices fluctuating daily.

Matthew Cole, head of the Fuel Bank Foundation, said the war in Ukraine and the rising oil and gas prices have pushed up heating oil costs for consumers to record levels.

For the first time since we started tracking heating oil prices, we have seen the cost of 1,000 litres break through £1,000, which is staggering and concerning for those who rely on it to heat their homes. As well as soaring costs, we are also hearing reports of deliveries being rationed due to supply issues and in some cases no heating oil being available at all. Notwithstanding the supply issues, people who are struggling financially due to the rising cost of living may now be forced to ration or put off refilling their oil tank, leaving them without heat, hot water and a means of cooking a hot meal.
Matthew Cole

Last year, Fuel Bank Foundation launched a new emergency Heat Fund for homes not connected to the gas grid.

Through the Heat Fund, households living without heat because they can’t afford to buy fuel to fill their coal bunker, wood store, LPG bottles or heating oil tank or those imminently at risk of running out of fuel can apply for an emergency delivery.

Initially launched as a pilot scheme in Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government’s Winter Support Programme, the Heat Fund has been extended to include England and Wales.

Support for households that are off supply has been very limited. The Heat Fund addresses this issue and until proper regulation is introduced for the solid fuel market provides a lifeline for vulnerable consumers.
Matthew Cole