Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis offers advice as heating oil costs double
Rural homes are facing astronomical rises in their energy costs after Russia's invasion of Ukraine doubled the price of heating oil in less than two weeks.
The price of a litre of oil has risen from around 65p to more than 128p in a fortnight – a leap Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis has described as "outrageous".
On just one day alone this week the price per litre rose by around 9p.
While many households across the country face big hikes in gas and electricity bills this coming year – pushed up by an increase in wholesale costs which is about to be passed on through a rise in the energy price cap in April and most likely again in October – those who live off-grid are suddenly facing extortionate quotes for immediate deliveries of essential fuel to power their boilers.
As estimated 1.5 million homes in England rely on an oil-fired burner says company Crown Oil – which could equate to around six million people it is suggested.
Homes reliant on oil also typically wait until the spring to buy in bulk their supply, when costs have always been traditionally lower as prices rise during winter when demand is high and historically drop as the country moves into summer.
But with war in the Ukraine raging, the price of crude oil volatile, and with governments now discussing phasing out Russian imports as part of further sanctions, it means many families will now be reaching the end of their supplies at a time when prices are hitting record levels and are predicted to only rise further.
Alongside concerns about this week's escalating petrol prices, social media is awash with people expressing their fears about the leap in the price of heating oil, which risks leaving those struggling to afford it with no way to heat their properties if they can't afford to pay up-front for a delivery.
One customer reliant on the fuel source reported a quote of £1,280 this week for the same order of oil that around 10 days ago would have cost a little over £400.
There are also tales of orders rising £60 in price over a matter of hours as companies respond to the rapidly fluctuating price of oil with the most up-to-date quotes for their customers, while a petition has also been launched calling for homes reliant on heating oil to be given some form of price protection in a similar way to gas and electricity. The campaign has so far gathered more than 2,000 signatures.
Consumer champion and founder of Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis says he too has been contacted by many worried households asking him for help.
The television presenter, who advises people daily via his social media accounts about how best to negotiate the steep rises in household bills, wrote: "To those, especially the many in rural areas, with heating oil seeing outrageous increases in cost. I know many are asking me what to do. I wish I had an answer other than the usual 'compare prices' and try to 'group-buy'."
He went on to suggest that those reliant on heating oil should also be lobbying their MP for more support.