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Heatwave halves demand for home heating 02.08.13

INISHOWEN householders are getting a much-needed holiday from their heating bills as oil distributors report business "at a standstill" due to the July heat wave and ongoing humid weather.
Many homes have not switched on their central heating for weeks after the longest running heat-wave in nearly two decades made way for humidity and temperatures that remain in the high teens and 20s for much of the country.
The Irish Petroleum Industry Association (IPIA) which represents kerosene suppliers across the country say that since the beginning of June, demand for home heating oil is down between 30 per cent and 50 per cent on the same period last year.
"All around the country, distributors’ businesses in this regard are at a standstill compared with winter, early spring and late autumn," said an IPIA spokesperson.
“Consequently, they are relying on small commercial and agricultural demand to keep their businesses going until domestic demand is likely to return in the colder weather of the autumn.”
As families contemplate having to fill up for autumn, it currently costs between about €830 and €920 for 1,000 litres of home heating oil in Inishowen.
The IPIA said it could not predict if oil prices would rise or fall this winter and advised consumers to "fill up now".
"It is very difficult for any of us to predict the movements in prices of any commodities. That said, there is a tendency for prices to rise when demand increases in the winter. So there is a strong case for filling up now, rather than waiting until there is snow on the ground," added the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Protection will assist approximately 410,000 people with their heating costs this winter. Eligible recipients will receive a fuel allowance of €20 per week for 26 weeks between October and April 2014.
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