Residents in West Norfolk are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds by not shopping around for their heating oil suppliers according to a report published this week.
The findings suggest that of the 17,295 households with heating oil in the borough, some 8,820 are not looking for cheaper alternatives.
The report, commissioned by independent heating oil comparison service BoilerJuice, found that 8.8 per cent of West Norfolk were living in ‘fuel poverty’.
This means they either have fuel costs above average, or if they were to spend that amount on fuel, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.
According to the figures, in the East of England more than half of rural households have not switched heating oil suppliers in at least 10 years despite fluctuating costs.
The report also found that among all heating oil households in the East of England, one in three (35 per cent) has never switched, and one in six (16 per cent) has not switched heating oil suppliers for more than a decade.
The cost of not comparing means that more than 64,000 households are paying more than £80 more per year than those who do – collectively wasting £5 million per year.
According to the research, those who do not switch “cannot be bothered” to shop around or are unaware of how to get the best deal.
However, the report says the way you buy heating oil can make a big difference to the price you pay.
It says those who buy heating oil at the last minute pay an average 40.2p per litre, compared to 38.8p per litre for those who buy it in advance.
This adds an additional £30 to the average bill.
Fuel poverty has become a widespread issue with one in 10 households now being classed as fuel poor, according to recent Government figures.
Rural areas are proportionally the worst affected.
Lee Cowles, managing director for BoilerJuice, said: “Many households in the East of England are still paying too much for their energy and we want to help more people benefit from increased choice and competition.
“The many households in East Anglia who rely on heating oil to warm their homes risk overpaying if they buy from the same supplier because loyalty to one supplier does not pay.”
Mr Cowles said their online platform allows hundreds of suppliers to bid for customers’ business.