The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC), which represents the oil heating industry in the UK, has responded to Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance’s (EUA) call to extend the gas grid in a bid to reduce fuel poverty. According to OFTEC, the EUA proposals which follow last month’s launch of DECC’s Fuel Poverty Consultation, are not the ‘right solution’ to address high levels of fuel poverty in rural areas.
Speaking in response to the EUA proposals, Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC’s Director General, says, “We fully support the principles behind the DECC Fuel Poverty consultation which aligns with our own work, in partnership with the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) and Age UK, to help tackle this critical issue.
“However, extending the gas grid would be a costly and disruptive move which would fail to tackle the real problem – the poor energy efficiency of many off gas grid homes which have the lowest EPC ratings at F and G. These households need practical, affordable ways to become more energy efficient.”
OFTEC has formerly responded to DECC’s fuel poverty consultation and outlined its recommendations to help the country’s 800,000 oil using homes, of which approximately 100,000 are fuel poor. Actions include upgrading insulation in these properties to band C or better, and installing modern condensing oil boilers which can save up to 20% on fuel bills plus a similar reduction in carbon emissions.
Mr Hawksley adds, “A simple boiler scrappage scheme would help many more households upgrade their boilers and the Oilsave website outlines a further number of inexpensive energy efficiency measures these homes can take.”