Business

NI households overpaying £15m a year on heating oil

Households in Northern Ireland are overpaying £15 million a year on home heating oil
Gareth McKeown

NORTHERN Ireland households are overpaying on heating oil by as much as £15 million every year new research has shown.

The independent findings, commissioned by BoilerJuice show that more than two hundred thousand households are paying more than they should for heating, but one in three (31 per cent) have never switched suppliers, while one in seven haven't switched for more than a decade.

The research shows that rural households are the worst affected by fuel poverty, yet almost half (47 per cent) have not switched heating oil suppliers in at least ten years despite fluctuating costs.

The cost of not keeping track of your heating bill means that 202,100 households are paying nearly £80 more per year than those who do - collectively wasting £15 million per year.

The main problem is that many of those who don't switch in Northern Ireland can't be bothered to shop around (17 per cent), or are unaware of how to get the best deal (10 per cent) - and have simply always bought their heating oil from the same person in the same way (45 per cent).

Those who buy heating oil at the last minute pay on average 40.2p per litre compared to 38.8p per litre for those who buy it in advance. This adds an additional £30 to the average bill.

The figures further show that 55 per cent of households in the north struggled to afford to pay for heating oil in the past two years, higher than the UK average.

Managing director of BoilerJuice Lee Cowles said many households in Northern Ireland are paying too much for their fuel.

"The 430,000 households who rely on heating oil to warm their homes risk overpaying if they buy from the same supplier because loyalty to one supplier does not pay."

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