Author: Department for Social Development
Published on 25 November 2011 05:00 PM
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced an innovative pay as you go option for oil heating for vulnerable households.
The pilot scheme to help tackle fuel poverty among the most vulnerable will begin early next year, with an evaluation in summer ahead of next year’s winter period.
The technology could see significant savings for those using drums, rather than having oil delivered in larger quantities. The Minister has met with representatives from Kingspan Environmental and Carillion Energy Services who will be taking the pilot forward.
Minister McCausland said: “Around 70% of homes in Northern Ireland rely on oil to heat their homes, and this increases to around 80% in rural communities. The cost of fuel is a key factor in addressing fuel poverty and I am delighted that two local companies, Carillion Energy Services and Kingspan Environmental, have come up with a possible solution to a long standing problem.
“The expense of oil and of ordering oil in larger quantities has been an ongoing issue and those less well off have been the worst affected. Many families are not able to budget for £300 or £500 and resort to buying drums. This pilot will allow us to road test an innovative and unique technology which will allow oil from tanks to be released to boilers as needed, helping those most in need to budget and benefit from the savings gained by those buying in larger quantities.”
The Minister has asked the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to identify a number of properties across all tenures to take part in the pilot early next year.
Kingspan Environmental working in partnership with Carillion Energy Services has developed the oil metering technology.
Jillian Ferris from Carillion Energy Services, commented: “Last winter we saw first hand just how difficult it is for oil users to buy the fuel they need when the weather is extremely cold. We are used to paying for electricity and mobile phones on a pay as you go basis, so we decided to try to find a pay as you go payment method for oil”
Kingspan Environmental has developed the technology for oil tank metering. Charles Burns, Commercial Director said: “Kingspan Environmental is the market leader in oil measurement technologies and we welcome the opportunity to work with Minister Mc Causland and his Department to further develop the Fuelserve pay as you go solution. As a Northern Ireland based company, we are delighted to be involved in projects which help alleviate the ever increasing burden of fuel poverty”.