The news on price will be warmly welcomed by consumers as latest data from the Sutherland tables* shows that the annual cost of heating an average three-bedroom home on oil has fallen by 3.3% since last year. This means oil remains the cheapest off-grid fuel, 30% cheaper than LPG and 46% less expensive than the running cost of electric storage heaters – the two main alternatives.
The figures also reveal that an oil heating system in the same home is on average £250 cheaper to run per annum than an air source heat pump system, which can cost between £6,000 and £8,000 to install and requires high levels of insulation to work efficiently.
Even more encouraging news comes from OFTEC, the trade association for the oil heating industry, who says the industry is working to develop a new low carbon liquid fuel to help reduce carbon emissions from homes in support of the government’s climate change targets.
Rural homes are typically more difficult and costly to decarbonise as many are older properties with lower levels of insulation. Transitioning the oil heated properties to a 100% renewable liquid ‘biofuel’ by 2035 offers a cost-effective, simple to implement solution to reduce emissions.
Whilst the new fuel is being developed, OFTEC is offering advice to UK households on how to become more energy efficient and enjoy further savings from the low price of oil:
- Make sure your boiler has recently been serviced – an annual service will help ensure your boiler is working correctly and efficiently. Is it recommended you use an OFTEC registered technician (for oil or solid fuel) as they follow strict industry safety guidelines and their work is regularly inspected.
- Smarten up your heating controls – more advanced controls can help you adjust the temperature in different rooms and save money and reduce usage by not heating those you rarely use. You can also turn your heating off remotely to avoid the housewarming up when you are not at home.
- Consider upgrading to a modern condensing boiler if yours is over 15 years old - this can help reduce your fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 20%. These models tend to be smaller, run more quietly and can be readily adapted to a new low carbon liquid fuel alternative to heating oil once this becomes available.
- Shop around for the best price – contact several different fuel suppliers to compare costs or use an online price comparison website to help secure the best price. You could also place a joint order with neighbours to enjoy additional savings.
- Don't leave ordering oil to the last minute – with the ongoing winter weather, regularly check how much oil you have left in your tank and top up early to avoid any emergency deliveries which typically cost more. It is recommended oil households use a delivery firm which is a member of the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) as they follow strict safety guidelines.
Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, explains: We welcome these new figures which show that oil remains the cheapest fuel for households not connected to the gas grid. We are continuing our work to develop a 100% renewable ‘drop-in’ replacement fuel which will mean households can enjoy all the benefits of a liquid fuel, including a competitive price, whilst also fully supporting the UK’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
For more information, visit www.oftec.org
*Sutherland Tables, January 2020