Oil boiler users have been urged to shop around and diversify their heating technologies following increased concerns about competition in the oil supply marketplace.
The advice, from Worcester, Bosch Group, one of the UK’s leading boiler manufacturers, comes in the wake of record oil prices and media reports about an oil boiler fuel comparison website which is, in fact, owned by an oil company and is allegedly charging up to 25p per litre more than the average market price in certain instances.
Concern about the effect of high oil prices on the off-gas grid energy market has led the Minister of Energy, Charles Hendry, to ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the impact of high, rising and volatile commodity prices on communities, such as those in rural areas, who are off the mains gas grid.
Martyn Bridges, Director of Marketing and Technical Support, at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented:
“Consumers need to shop around to get the best oil price for their domestic heating systems, not just rely on their usual supplier or a supposed price comparison website.
“It is becoming clear that there are some sharp practices being employed, not least the charging of up to £200 for delivery, which is normally bundled into the cost of the oil.”
The market for oil boilers has decreased dramatically in recent years from approximately 100,000 units sold in 2000 down to approximately 60,000 in 2010.
“My own view is that the market for oil boilers has reached its natural floor now,” says Martyn.
“We expect there to be a market for the replacement of oil boilers for many years to come as the technology tends to have a long operational life and there are more than one million households in the UK which still rely on oil for heating.”
It also very possible that a “renaissance” of a sort could be around the corner with the hope of bio-oil being included within the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) and customers being paid for using this fuel.
“Installers also need to be advising anyone off the mains gas grid is to investigate the potential for renewable technologies, such as solar thermal and solar pv, or perhaps heat pumps in conjunction with an oil boiler, in order to give households an element of energy security and a hedge against rising commodity prices.”
Source: Worcester Bosch Group