Fuel Poverty Needs Urgently Addressed, Says OFTEC

OFTEC Cold Homes Week
OFTEC Cold Homes Week

As announced earlier this week, The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) has thrown its weight behind this week’s ‘Cold Homes Week’, a campaign to help raise awareness of the 20% of UK households living in fuel poverty and the need to make the country’s homes more energy efficient.

Cold Homes Week was been launched by the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) which brings together more than 170 businesses, charities and organisations in support of ending fuel poverty – a term given to households which spend more than 10% of their income on energy to keep warm.

To mark the start of Cold Homes Week, OFTEC staff and technicians took part in ‘The Big Tweet’ on Monday 3 February at 9am, joining other EBR supporters in sending out tweets using the hashtag #ColdHomesWeek.

As part of the campaign, OFTEC has also written to local MPs urging them to back the campaign to end fuel poverty and help bring down excess winter deaths which topped 31,000 in England and Wales alone yesterday last year, with thousands more deaths in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The high death toll has been attributed to a combination of rising fuel costs and that UK properties are some of the most energy inefficient in Europe meaning they cost much more than they should to heat.

Yesterday representatives from OFTEC also attended a Parliamentary Reception where knitted scarves, the symbol of the campaign, were presented to MPs to highlight the fuel poverty issue. EBR is urging the Government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to help make UK homes super-energy efficient, installing measures such as better insulation and modern boilers to drive down energy bills, keep homes warm and cut carbon emissions.

Jeremy Hawksley, Director General at OFTEC says, “With projections showing that the number of UK homes in fuel poverty is set to rise to one in three households by 2016, this is an issue which urgently needs addressing. EBR’s campaign directly aligns with OFTEC’s work to promote energy efficiency in the home. Our Oilsave website contains lots of useful tips on becoming more energy efficient and OFTEC’s registered technicians can always provide well professional advice to homeowners. We have also teamed up with Age UK to produce a booklet for older people, who are most at risk, to help them keep warm and well during the winter.

With many thousands of standard efficiency boilers in need of upgrade, OFTEC has written to the Government calling for the introduction of a simple oil boiler scrappage scheme on the Mainland, similar to the one running successfully in Northern Ireland where over 7,770 subsidised oil boilers have already been installed.

Jeremy Hawksley concludes, “The Government should be making it as easy and affordable as possible for homeowners to install modern condensing boilers which can save the average household up to 20% on fuel bills as well as cutting their carbon emissions. A simple move like this could go a long way towards bringing down fuel bills and reducing the number of people in the UK living in fuel poverty.”