OVER 38,000 oil heated households in Gloucestershire could see their fuel bills soar if new government proposals go ahead.
The plans suggest oil homes should switch to electrically driven ‘heat pump’ technology in a bid to reduce carbon emissions from heating.
However, as oil remains the cheapest form of heating, industry figures show unless expensive improvements are made to the energy efficiency of a home, heat pumps can cost up to 88 per cent more to run than a modern oil boiler for a typical three bedroom property.
This would leave rural homes in Gloucestershire facing a rise in their fuels bills of up to £750 per year.
At a time when incomes are being squeezed and living costs are rising, this would have serious implications for those already struggling to pay their energy bills and could plunge many more into economic hardship and fuel poverty.
It could also increase the already high number of older and vulnerable people in Gloucestershire who die each winter because they can’t afford to keep warm.
In response, OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, has put forward an alternative solution which involves moving oil heated households to a low carbon ‘bio-liquid’ fuel which would be simple to adopt and cost effective to run, whilst still significantly reducing carbon emissions.