Consumer Alert: Switching Home Heating Fuels Rarely Helps

    BURLINGTON, ON, Aug. 14 /CNW/ - The Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Oil
Heat Association (COHA) offers this consumer alert: Homeowners hoping to
combat the rising cost of heating their homes by switching fuels should
research the matter extremely carefully. Industry and consumer groups report
it is an expensive undertaking which rarely helps reduce home energy bills.
    "Typically, during periods of spiking fuel prices," says COHA Ontario
spokesperson, Constance Wrigley-Thomas, "some consumers react by considering
converting from one fuel to another in a misguided attempt to reduce home
energy costs. It's a phenomenon which CECA, the Consumer Energy Council of
America, has studied for 25 years."
    Homeowners may think a spike in one fuel price puts them at a long-term
disadvantage. Historically however, the prices of home heating oil and natural
gas, for instance, track each other. As Wrigley-Thomas explains, "The studies
all confirm when one goes up or down, the other soon follows. For example,
this year Canadians have seen the price of oil rise while news agencies also
have reported jumps in natural gas prices as much as 45%. And CECA's
projections into 2025 show no evidence that this oil and gas tracking pattern
will change."
    This leads COHA to emphasize there is no meaningful or long-term price
advantage with oil vs. natural gas. Therefore price alone is not a good reason
to consider an expensive undertaking like converting a home heating system,
which is unlikely to reduce home energy bills. In 6 separate and comprehensive
studies over a 25-year period, price tracking is one of the reasons that led
CECA to conclude each time: In 95 of 100 cases, it is financially unwise to
convert from oil heat to natural gas.

    The Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Oil Heat Association recently
launched a website to help Ontarians explore what industry and consumer groups
consider to be the best way to save money on home energy costs. "Improving the
efficiency of your current home heating system through furnace upgrades, plus
whole-home energy conservation measures," says Wrigley-Thomas, "are the only
guaranteed ways to reduce home energy bills. And homeowners can control both."
For more information on how to take control of energy savings, visit

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For further information: on how to take control of energy savings, visit

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