The price of oil has been falling through the floor. Last Monday Brent crude dropped below twenty two dollars a barrel, a level not seen in almost twenty years.
This collapse in the cost of the black stuff, brought about by a slump in demand and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, has brought some welcome relief to homes using home heating oil. The average cost of five hundred litres is now just under £194.
Those households are not the only ones to see a decrease in their central heating costs. Following a review by the Energy Regulator, the price of natural gas has also declined. Firmus has brought in a 21% cut in the Ten Towns area while SSE Airtricity has sliced almost 19% off its gas tariff in Greater Belfast.
Both gas and oil are now cheaper than anthracite which last month was the lowest priced of the four central heating fuels compared by enirgy.info. But which energy source is currently more attractive cost wise: gas or oil? That honour falls to natural gas but only by a modest margin.
The annual bill for heating a home with gas is £615.* That’s £43 lower than the charge for home heating oil. However half that margin arises from a discount for ordering gas by direct debit.
This is just a snapshot of market in flux. A close watch will be kept by enirgy.info on what happens from here.
* The estimation by enirgy.info is based on a delivery of 15,000 kWh of useful heat regardless of the efficiency of boiler used.