Government to Increase Heating Oil Payment
December has proved to be a particularly cold month in the UK after a very mild November, bringing home all the worries people have had about facing the choice between heating and eating and how they’re going to meet greatly increased energy bills.
With prices for gas and electricity doubling for many households, it has meant that more traditional fuels such as logs and coal have been seeing something of a resurgence as people seek better value in their home heating. It is important, though, that if you do choose to go down this route you only use smokeless fuels or wood that has been properly dried, otherwise you could break local clean air laws and/or damage your chimney.
There has been plenty of discussion and debate regarding whether the government is doing enough to help households meet those vastly higher energy bills. Their energy price guarantee scheme is giving all households a discount of £400 on their bills, spread over six monthly installments. The first month of the scheme saw £1.8 billion worth of help to some 27 million households. There will be a review in April 2023, at which time it is expected that any further help will be more targeted at those most in need.
But what of those who don’t use gas or electricity for their home heating and who are also seeing increased costs this winter?
The Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme
When examining what help was needed for households to deal with the rise in energy prices, the main focus was – perhaps inevitably – on mains gas and electricity, which represent the principal heating fuels for the vast majority of people in the UK.
Nevertheless, those who use alternative forms of home heating haven’t been unaffected by the chaos in the energy market or the cost of living crisis. Prices for home heating oil, for example, rose 60.5% in the year to October 2022, although that figure had previously reached as high as 82% in the year to August 2022.
It was recognised early on that help would also be needed for those not covered by the energy price guarantee scheme, and in September the government announced that there would be a one-off payment of £100 to households that were not on mains gas and that used alternative fuels such as heating oil, LPG, coal and biomass. The plan was for the payments to be made in the form of credit on electricity bills, as was the case with the households receiving assistance under the energy price guarantee scheme.
However, in November’s Autumn Statement, it was further announced that the amount paid to these households would be doubled to £200 and that payments would be made early in 2023.
The main issue with the scheme is identifying all those eligible, as there is no central register of households using such fuels. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been working at pace to identify all eligible homes, and where those households have an ongoing account with an electricity supplier, payment will be made automatically as a credit. Others will have to apply to get the money.
For those in Northern Ireland, all households will receive the £200 because so many homes there rely on alternative fuels.
For all your solid fuel needs – including top-quality smokeless fuels, kiln-dried wood and wood briquettes – you can’t do better than talk to the home heating experts at KG Smith & Son, with free delivery available across the UK (minimum order required).
Get in touch to find out more or order your winter fuel online now.