Solid Fuel Heating Costs Increase As Markets Strengthen

6th September 2011

While heating oil prices have eased over recent weeks, the impact of historically high energy prices on global markets continues to impact on other fuels, with coal the latest casualty as markets strengthen. Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland said the announcement from the Coal Advisory Service that the price of coal in province is set to rise by between 4% and 10% this September is, "Yet another, further blow for consumers who are struggling with their energy costs.

 

Although only around 5% of households in Northern Ireland, including c.3,000 Housing Executive tenants, use coal to solely heat their homes, there is an increasing number of households that use coal fires as a means of complementing their central heating systems.

 

John French, Head of Energy at the Consumer Council said, "In light of the recent increases in electricity prices and now coal prices, we call on the Northern Ireland Executive to address urgently the issue of energy affordability in Northern Ireland before living in a warm and dry home becomes simply unaffordable."

 

Whilst the price of energy is rising on world markets, the Consumer Council believes there are still practical interventions that the Northern Ireland Executive can undertake to support households and homeowners in the province. The Council is arguing for:

  • Using the Northern Ireland Executive's and UK Government's estates' huge energy purchasing power to negotiate lower prices on behalf of consumers, via energy brokering arrangements;
  • Requiring the home heating oil industry to do more in supporting vulnerable households and those in fuel poverty e.g. the introduction of universal 'pay as you go cards'. Northern Ireland has the highest prevalence of oil heating in the UK, with c.70% of homes in region dependent upon heating oil;
  • Ensure the energy regulatory framework is working to deliver the lowest possible energy prices for consumers, noting that with the exception of heating oil, energy costs in the province are typically higher than on the UK Mainland.
  • Establish a roadmap and set a timescale to address the fuel poverty crisis in Northern Ireland.

The increase in coal prices, comes less than a week after Northern Ireland's largest electricity utility announced that prices were set to increase by 18.6% in October.

 

Related Products :: Harlequin Coal Bunkers :: Titan Coal Bunkers

 



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Article Last Updated 7th September 2011
 
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