The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) has given its full support to this year’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on 27 November.
Designed to increase understanding of the challenges facing those living in cold homes due to fuel poverty, Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is organised by National Energy Action (NEA) every year.
“Once again, UKIFDA is supporting Fuel Poverty Awareness Day whole heartedly, as we believe it makes a real difference to the lives of those living in cold homes,” says Guy Pulham, UKIFDA Chief Executive.
“We are delighted that for the second year running, this initiative is being held in late November rather than its original February date, in order to encourage households to seek support at the start of winter rather than towards the end.
“This year in particular, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital individuals take steps to make sure they have enough fuel to stay warm this winter – with many people spending more time at home as a result of working from home or feeling poorly or having to self-isolate, the practical issues of staying warm and safe need to be priority.”
NEA estimates there are 3.5 million UK households affected by fuel poverty, with rates higher in rural areas.
UKIFDA Membership Manager, Dawn Shakespeare comments: “Off-grid homes are often harder to heat and more expensive to run because the properties tend to be older and not as well insulated.
“The key for this winter is to enable rural homeowners to increase energy efficiency and cut energy bills so they can stay warm for less during the cold months ahead.
“Thankfully the price of heating oil is low and is currently the cheapest form of energy across the UK, the latest data released by Sutherland Tables, independent provider of comparative home heating costs for the most common fuels in the UK and Republic of Ireland, shows that families in an average 3-bedroom house in Great Britain with an oil boiler are paying around £636 a year for heating and hot water, compared to £877 for those using a gas boiler, £1373 for those using air source heat pumps with underfloor heating, £1507 for wood pellets, £1555 for those using LPG, £1793for those with air source heat pump with radiators and £2069 per annum for those using electric storage heaters.
“During September and October, as part of our Get Winter Ready campaign, we have been urging the 1.5 million heating oil customers in the UK to order now, before the Christmas rush.
“Demand is lower and the temperature is higher at the moment, making deliveries far easier. When the harsh winter weather arrives, there can be delays and difficulties getting oil to rural areas and customers face either running out of fuel when they need it most or having to pay higher costs for emergency deliveries.
“With regard to arranging heating oil deliveries during the winter months, anyone aged 75 and over can sign up to the Cold Weather Priority scheme to ensure they have the fuel they need to stay warm throughout winter. This free initiative is used by heating oil suppliers to identify and prioritise elderly customers.
“Pensioners have extra support in the shape of the Government’s Warm Home Discount scheme, which has just been extended for a year. It had been due to end in March 2021 but now vulnerable pensioners can receive energy rebates automatically for an extra year, to help them with the costs of keeping their homes warm during winter.
“Furthermore, many UKIFDA Members offer monthly fuel payment plans to ensure consumers can spread the cost of heating and avoid bigger bills.”
Guy Pulham concludes: “UKIFDA is doing all we can to support this year’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and to raise knowledge of the challenges facing those living in fuel poverty.
“We want people to know there is help out there and to encourage households to seek support now for the winter ahead. As well as our Cold Weather Priority scheme, and the Warm Home Discount extension, oil prices are cheap at the moment so it makes sense to order early this winter – and to speak to your local supplier about a monthly fuel payment plan.
“Our website UKIFDA.org has a range of tips and advice especially for homeowners on ways to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce energy bills.”
24th November 2020