-Translated from french article-

Faced with prices that climb every day, homeowners are switching to electricity as soon as they can

The 200,000 Quebec families who heat with oil this winter will have to pay almost twice as much to fill their tank.

“The bill amounts are frightening. Everything is above 1000 dollars,” says Jules Chicoine, co-owner of Huiles Beloeil St-Hilaire on the South Shore of Montreal.

The average price for light fuel oil, used for heating, stood at $2.04 per liter this week according to the Régie de l’énergie du Québec. In November 2021, the average price was $1.18, so this represents an increase of almost 75% compared to last year. To fill a 500 liter tank, a household will have to pay $1,020 before taxes. Last year, the bill was $590.
And to last until the end of winter, several fillings will be necessary.

Barbara Korzcniewski benefits from an agreement with Mr. Chicoine, her oil supplier. It spreads its payments over 12 months. Last year, his monthly budget was $160 after taxes to heat his bungalow. According to her calculations, she risks getting $300 this year, almost double.

“It’s terrible,” comments the 75-year-old, who says she is lucky to have a little money aside.

All hydrocarbons

“The price of oil continues to remain at a very high level, so all prices of petroleum products are high,” explains Pierre-Olivier Pineau, professor at HEC Montréal. And the rising price of natural gas doesn’t help. As many industrial or commercial buildings can switch from natural gas to oil, the demand for heating oil is increased.

Mr. Chicoine, who has sold diesel and fuel oil for many years, deplores the “exorbitant” profits of oil companies and notes a greater variation in prices recently, up to 10 cents from one day to the next. other.

Incentives and prohibitions

Around 200,000 Quebec households still heat with oil, according to an estimate from 2021. But this figure is decreasing. First, because of increasingly high prices.

“The customers, they shout and when they are able, they change the system,” mentions the oil seller. And then, Quebec has put in place several incentive measures for converting to electric. The government thus wishes to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by the combustion of fuel oil. This heating system accounts for 30% of the carbon footprint of the residential sector in Quebec. Since 2021, it has been prohibited to install a new oil heating system in residences.

As of December 31, 2023, any repair of an oil system over 20 years old and any replacement with a system running on fossil fuel will be prohibited. In exchange, the government offers a subsidy of $1,275 for the conversion of the heating system of an individual house.