Annual oil bill hits £1,700 for NI homes

Published Tuesday, 02 April 2013
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An increasing number of households in Northern Ireland are struggling to fill their oil tanks as prices rise - and are resorting to expensive emergency drums in order to heat their homes.

Annual oil bill hits £1,700 for NI homes
Home heating oil is pumped to a house. (© Getty)

The Consumer Council has revealed that the average household bill for heating oil now stands at £1,705 a year, after prices soared over the last number of years.

Antoinette McKeown, the council's Chief Executive, said: "The unfortunate reality today for many struggling households is that many consumers simply cannot afford to fill their oil tanks currently.

"And we totally understand that in the Consumer Council because we have monitored [prices] over the last number of years and have seen the cost of oil going up by at least 60% in the last three years.

"So it's no wonder consumers are struggling at the minute."

She said many consumers feel they have no choice other than to buy emergency 20 litre drums, which can be up to 61p per litre more expensive than the cost of the average 500 litre refill.

The consumer expert is advising the public to always shop around for the best available price before ordering oil.

"We monitor oil prices across Northern Ireland on a weekly basis, and encourage people to check our website and shop around for the best deal. However, we know there are many who simply cannot afford to fill their tank and feel they have no option but to use emergency drums," she continued.

"There is an urgent need to identify the scale of dependence on emergency drums and consider approaches which would reduce this dependence and provide better value to homes across Northern Ireland."

At present, the home heating industry in Northern Ireland is not regulated.

The Consumer Council has been calling on the Executive to explore the option of regulation for some time.

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"It doesn't make sense to us that 70% of households are relying on home heating oil - yet it's not regulated."
© UTV News
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17 Comments
Bill H. Amend in http://www.estatechase.com/ wrote (601 days ago):
These price hikes costs more than we can afford and if this continues, what will happen to us then? I hope the companies and ou goverment will have drastic changes to solve this issue at hand.
Carol in Lisburn wrote (602 days ago):
Can someone please explain why the cost of 900 litres of home heating oil costs £555.00 in Ballymena and in Lisburn it cost £ 570.00, and in Bangor considerably more!!!
David in In the Frozen North! wrote (603 days ago):
I have to agree with Jonny Mac regarding th ehouse cooling down quickly. I got rid of my glass fronted fire 10 years ago and got in gas central heating and my house does cool down so much faster now despite newer windows and better insulation. I got my self a woodburner as it does give out extra heat snd is also cheerful. I do feel sorry for those suffering from the cold at this time of year.
Gerard in Belfast wrote (603 days ago):
The oil is bought in by one company who sells it off to a number of suppliers under the condition that they do not sell below a certain price. Frosty is right the industry should be nationalised in the interests of the populace. If a country cannot provide its citizens with the basics it is not worth living in (unfortunately, I am too old to emigrate). Unfortuantly, this is the price we all have to pay for the policy of privatisation which was sold to us all as efficiency. In reality it makes the wealthy elite wealthier at the cost of the joe public. However, not that our politicians care. The period over Christams demonstrated all what they care about: flags and more flags.
Frosty in Here wrote (603 days ago):
I ran out of oil ages ago, I've been living in the bedroom with a small electric heater for the past few months. Not much point buying more if it's only going to get nicked by some scumbag with a few drums and a pump. Unfortunately my electric bill is taking its toll instead, my last one was over £400. The system just isn't designed for the small people to ever get ahead. Things like heating and energy need to be nationalised by the government as they are basic life essentials. But of course it won't, profits before people policy wins every time. And we call ourselves a civilisation?
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