Irish budget 'could increase fuel poverty' - industry

A trade association representing the home heating oil industry has warned that Ireland's latest budget could lead to more fuel poverty in the country.

The budget introduced a carbon tax with the aim of cutting CO2 emissions, with petrol and diesel impacted already with home heating oil receiving increases of over 8% in May 2010.

Trade association OFTEC has spoken of its disappointment over the decision, pointing out that it is only four years ago that the government abolished the levy tax on kerosene used for heating homes.

OFTEC says it is concerned that this new tax on domestic heating oil will be detrimental to consumers struggling to cope with existing fuel bills.

The trade association's Damien Keenan said: "The incidence of fuel poverty had declined over recent years as a result of rising household income levels and improved housing standards.

"With increased energy costs now affecting all fuels and reduced disposable income the extra cost of this further tax on heating oil could force more oil users into fuel poverty."

OFTEC is advising oil households in Ireland to seek advice on upgrading their heating appliances and adding full controls to their system in order to maximise the efficiency of the system, reduce oil use and save money.

Grants for upgrade may be available from SEI under their Home Energy Savings Scheme.
"The latest independent energy figures show that consumers using condensing oil boilers can save up to 18% or €290 per annum," said Mr Keenan.

"Consumers looking to have a new boiler installed or replaced should insist on a condensing boiler and make sure their technician is OFTEC Registered to ensure competence."

Sam Bond



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