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Housing Executive turning the heat up on fuel poverty

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Stephen Hunter (Bryson Energy), Robert Clements (Housing Executive) with Arnold Beattie and Cheryl Patton (Mid-Ulster Victims Empowerment Project) promoting the Oil Buying Club Scheme.

The Housing Executive is encouraging householders to tackle rising oil prices in an alternative, cost-effective way by joining their local oil buying club.

According to figures released, oil prices have risen by 23% over a one month period, after the cost of a litre of oil rose from 31p in September to 38p in October. This increase is the steepest since the winter of 2010, making it the third biggest price increase on record. If rises continue, it will be enough to add a hefty £92 to average annual bills for local householders in three bedroom semi-detached properties.

With rising oil prices expected to continue as homes enter the winter period, there has never been a better time to join your local oil buying club. In partnership with Bryson Energy, the Housing Executive has established oil buying clubs across Northern Ireland which are available to any who uses oil in their home heating system.

Currently, there are 27 clubs established with over 3,500 members across Northern Ireland. The scheme is open to everyone including owner-occupiers, housing associations and Housing Executive tenants as well as private-rented tenants. By joining an oil buying club, members can potentially save up to 10% and getting into the habit of buying small quantities of oil (minimum is 200li) over a number of months will build up their tank’s supply avoiding a huge one-off outlay.

Robert Clements, The Housing Executive’s Sustainable Development Manager for Development Services said:

“Fuel poverty in Northern Ireland remains the highest in the UK and whilst there are a range of policies and programmes to deliver more energy efficient homes, fuel costs and low incomes still mean householders struggle to heat their homes. In 2011, 42% of households were recorded as fuel poor in Northern Ireland.

“It is a simple premise; the more people buy oil together, the more they can reduce the cost. The response to the oil buying clubs across Northern Ireland has been extremely encouraging. Our oil buying club scheme is a practical example of how the Housing Executive is making a difference to transforming people’s lives and fostering vibrant communities. “

“There are various benefits of joining an oil buying club; it is a unique way for people to buy their heating oil together and enjoy the savings and benefits this provides, saving money from a reduction in price per litre with the larger volume order, fewer vehicle movements from suppliers which reduces CO2 emissions and social cohesion and a sense of community by being part of an oil buying club.

“As the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland, the Housing Executive offers proactive advice that is only a phonecall away. For free energy saving advice, contact Housing Executive funded advice line at Bryson Energy Advice Line 0800 1422 865 where trained energy advisors will sign post you to your nearest oil buying club, advice on energy switching, latest information on available grants and general energy advice tips.”

For more information about the Housing Executive Oil Buying Club and where each of the oil buying clubs are located, please see http://www.nihe.gov.uk/index/advice/energy_environment/oil_buying_clubs.htm

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