The government has been criticised for excluding heating oil users from its new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which was launched earlier in the month.
Heating oil regulatory body OFTEC stated that it is unfair heating oil users cannot take advantage of the deals on offer from the government.
Changes to the Green Deal scheme were rolled out by the government last week in response to the low take-up of the initial programme, which led to widespread criticism from the public.
Jeremy Hawksley, director general of OFTEC, stated that it is clear from the details of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund that it “discriminates” against heating oil users who are living off the grid in rural areas. He said that in particular, it prevents those living in fuel poverty in rural areas from accessing the scheme.
Mr Hawksley added: “We’ve been informed that ministers were advised that the recently launched domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) must be the only option for rural homes on oil, although gas homes can choose either the RHI or a simpler boiler upgrade.”
The government says that the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund will encourage homeowners to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This will happen by consumers being offered a grant of up to £1,500 to use on the installation of a new condensing boiler alongside one other Green Deal insulation measure.
Mr Hawksley went on to accuse the government of failing to introduce energy efficiency measures for the fuel-poor households using oil. He added: “Typically these are more at risk of fuel poverty because their homes tend to be older, poorly insulated and therefore cost more to heat.”
Announcing the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, the government stated that people in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7,600 back through the scheme.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey reiterated the government’s stance that the best way for people to reduce their bills is to take control of their own energy usage and the efficiency of their properties. He said: “Faulty boilers, draughty windows and insufficient insulation all cause properties to leak hundreds of pounds every year. But advice and support through the Green Deal can help put a stop to this.”