Households across Wales are being encouraged to take steps to reduce their energy usage and save money on their fuel bills as part of a nationwide campaign.
Big Energy Saving Week (21st – 27th January), organised each year by Citizens Advice, aims to raise awareness of the simple steps we can all take to lower our energy bills through being more energy efficient.
OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS), the trade association for oil distributers, are official partners of Big Energy Saving Week and are encouraging the 114,000 oil households in Wales to think about their current energy consumption as well as offering money saving advice.
Despite recent small increases in price, oil heated households in Wales continue to enjoy the cheapest fuel bills of all the main off-grid heating systems and are paying on average nearly £500 less than homes using LPG and over £800 less than those with electric storage heaters.
However, in the cold winter months, there are still ways households can reduce their spending costs even further, without having to turn down the heating.
As part of Big Energy Saving Week, OFTEC and FPS are urging households to consider:
When was the last time I bled my radiator?
Bleeding your radiators will help to increase heating efficiency during cold weather.
How old is my thermostat?
Many homes have a simple thermostat which sets one temperature for the whole house. Installing a more advanced system will enable you to set different temperatures for each room throughout the day and even control your heating remotely, saving money by only heating those you use.
When was the last time I had my boiler serviced?
It is important that you service your boiler at least once a year, in particular during colder months and use an OFTEC (for oil and solid fuel) or GasSafe (for mains gas) registered technician. This will ensure it is working efficiently and help you avoid potential costly breakdowns.
How much oil is left in the tank?
Make sure you check the level of oil in your tank on a regular basis as you may be using more in winter. We recommend that you plan in advance and tell your local FPS accredited heating oil supplier when you are running low; this will ensure you are prioritised by your supplier and that your tank is topped up in good time. If you are considering joining an oil buying group the FPS has a pros and cons guide which can be found at www.oilsave.org.uk
Is my boiler the most efficient?
One out of three households still rely on an old, less efficient boiler. By purchasing a modern, condensing model you could potentially reduce your fuel bills by over 20%.
Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC commented:
“Households in Wales who use heating oil to keep warm have been making huge savings on their fuel bills over the past year due to the low price of oil. Despite recent increases, we expect this trend to continue throughout 2019.
“However, many households, particularly in more rural parts of Wales, live in older homes which are often less energy efficient. Whilst not everybody can afford upgrading to the latest boiler technology, we hope that by encouraging consumers to think about their heating efficiency and take a few simple steps, they can enjoy further savings on their heating bills this winter.”
FPS Technical Manager Tony Brown adds: “The cost of energy is a worry for many households and this week-long campaign points out all the many positive steps people can take to better manage their energy and reduce costs, as well as receive all the help they’re entitled to when it comes to grants and benefits such as Winter Fuel Allowance.
“Alongside general advice for consumers, such as comparing the prices of various energy suppliers and turning the thermostat down by just one degree to make a big 10 percent saving, there is a wealth of support specifically for the 1.5million UK off-grid energy users.”