‘Perfect storm’ as Northamptonshire’s oil-heated homes face major bills

An estimated 10,000 households in Northamptonshire have oil heating

Friday, 13th May 2022, 9:33 am

Alongside rising energy and food bills, oil-heated households in Northamptonshire could soon face additional costs to install green heating systems if government plans go ahead.

The warning from OFTEC, the trade association for liquid fuel heating, comes as the cost of living crisis looms and households struggle with rising bills.

Government proposals say that from 2026, households on oil heating will not be able to install a new fossil fuel oil boiler once their existing one breaks down and needs to be replaced.

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Oil-heated households tend to be older, less well-insulated and harder to heat

OFTEC has said it is concerned owners of oil-heated homes are being unfairly treated - homes on mains gas would be able to replace their boilers like-for-like for an extra nine years.

Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “Whilst it’s clear all homes will need to adopt greener heating systems, the current approach by the government is creating a perfect storm. The reality is the vast majority of rural homes, including those on oil heating, are older and poorly insulated. This means heat pumps are less effective unless expensive and disruptive energy efficiency improvements are made.

“The government has said fairness must be front and centre of the move to green heating so we need to recognise that many homeowners are already struggling with the rising cost of living. It’s vital we take a more practical, realistic and affordable approach, using all the low carbon options available.”

It is estimated that the 10,000 households in Northamptonshire are reliant on oil heating.

OFTEC says instead renewable liquid fuels could be the solution to helping rural homes go green. Through an industry-funded demonstration, over 100 oil systems have been converted to run on a fossil-free fuel made from used cooking oil.

Mr Farrow added: “Renewable liquid fuels offer a realistic way for rural homes to go green and the demonstration project for HVO has been a huge success. However, we need the support of the government to make the fuel more widely available.

“There are already incentives for the use of renewable liquid fuels in aviation and road transport so we are calling for this to be extended to include home heating. We urge oil users to engage with their local elected representatives if they want the choice of switching to a greener, cleaner fuel.”