The Daily Telegraph

Oil handout ‘not enough’ for off-grid rural homeowners

- By Tom Haynes

A HANDOUT for rural homeowners reliant on heating oil will be a “drop in the ocean” in the face of sky high bills, campaigner­s warned yesterday.

The Government announced further support for homes that fall outside the energy price guarantee, which will see the average household bill frozen at £2,500, rather than the predicted price cap of £3,459.

The package will now include a £100 payment for homes not connected to the gas grid, in addition to the £400 rebate for every UK household.

More support will be announced, the Government said, but critics said homes need more assurance now.

Most oil-reliant households put aside money either themselves or with a supplier to build up money for when oil is needed, in order to spread the cost over the year.

But the Countrysid­e Alliance, which represents rural homeowners, many of whom rely on heating oil, said the rise in oil prices “will have left many without sufficient funds to fill tanks and insufficie­nt time to make up the shortfall”. Domestic heating oil rocketed in March from an average of 62p per litre to more than £1.50, according to comparison site Boiler Juice.

Off-grid homeowners traditiona­lly buy oil towards the end of the summer, when prices are much lower. But according to Boiler Juice, the price of oil only fell to 86p per litre in August, which is still a rise of 348pc compared to April 2020.

James Legge, of the Countrysid­e Alliance, said households on small or fixed incomes would find the coming winter “particular­ly difficult”.

He said: “£100 at current prices is a drop in the ocean. Most tanks are 1,000 plus litres. The minimum delivery is 500 litres and payments are made upfront – a 500-litre delivery is not far off £500 at the moment.”

Certas Energy, an oil supplier, said the average home uses 1,700-1,800 litres of oil per year, which under today’s prices would cost £1,500, although some pay far more.

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