This month we noticed a big increase in demand for our electric heating solutions from customers who have always relied on oil for their home heating requirements in the past.
When we asked why the sudden need to change after so long, we expected to hear the usual reason; that the price per litre had risen to unacceptable levels, and that another tank-full of oil was out of the question. We did, however, find that this was not the only reason.
With the price of oil spiralling out of control, and the cold weather increasing demand more than ever before, many homes, businesses schools and community centres have become the victims of oil theft.
Two million properties in the UK rely on heating oil and the recent spike in oil prices has meant that an average family living in the UK could face an increase of £540 on their heating bill. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the price of liquid fuel has increased by nearly 50% in the past year. This, and the alarming increase in theft has clearly given many home and business owners huge cause for concern.
One local authority contacted us recently after an oil tank belonging to a community centre was drained for the fourth time. At £630 per tank, plus the cost of repairs to the tank, the cost to the council and the local community was considerable. Any funding that they received was taken up by their oil bills and the entire community suffered as a result. Nothing could be done to prevent this from happening because, like many properties that use “off-grid” energy resources, the centre is in a rural location, easily accessed, and out of site. Security devices to protect tanks are often worthless as thieves can simply drill a hole to drain the oil.
The incentive to find an energy efficient electric heating solution has never been stronger. Not only does an electric heating system offer much higher levels of energy efficiency, it is also far cheaper to install, it does not require a tank, no maintenance is required, and the supply is near impossible to steal and will never run out.
The Ecopower Heating view on heating oil? Well, we always said that the decreasing supplies of oil, and the continued price hikes, would make oil-fired heating a thing of the past. Given the number of recent heating oil thefts, the oil companies are no longer the only villains in the game. Next time you see an oil tanker truck on the road, bear in mind, it may not be travelling to deliver some over- priced heating oil – it could be on its way to extract yours!