By planning ahead, consumers can avoid the pitfalls of ordering heating oil for homes and businesses at the last minute, when the distribution may already be disrupted by increased demand and cold weather, and prices may be higher.
Energy Minister Michael Fallon, who is backing the Buy Oil Early Campaign, says: “I welcome the launch of this campaign. The message is simple: stock up on heating oil before the winter leaves you out in the cold.
Previous severe winters show it’s better to order early when suppliers have spare delivery capacity.
Delaying risks longer delivery times especially if cold weather increases demand and disrupts deliveries, particularly in remote and rural parts of the country.
The new Code of Practice and Customer Charter by FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) is a welcome commitment from the industry to engage with consumers on a fair and consistent basis and implement best practice to raise standards.
I would also encourage households to save money on heating by using the Government’s Green Deal, which offers a way to pay for energy efficiency measures such as condensing oil boilers and insulation through savings on their energy bills. Customers on a low income or in a hard-to-insulate property may be able get additional support through the Energy Company Obligation.”
There are other measures consumers can adopt to make buying heating oil more efficient and cost-effective. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide people with information on accessing any benefits and support they’re entitled to. And the website www.oilsave.org.uk lists local distributors so consumers can ring round suppliers in their area to find the best deal and work out a suitable payment plan.
Mark Askew, Chief Executive of FPS, says: “There are steps people can take if they’re worried about the cost of oil, and by planning ahead for this winter payments can be spread across the year.
“Cold weather can arrive without warning and if your oil supplies run low, you may not have enough to keep you warm while you wait for more to arrive. This is particularly true in rural areas where distribution can be delayed by cold weather.
“While it’s easy to put off ordering oil for heating until the temperatures actually plummet, especially as we’ve enjoyed such a long warm summer, it’s so important that consumers take action now and don’t leave it until it’s too late.”
FPS’ Buy Oil Early Campaign is currently underway, encouraging consumers to prepare for winter today by buying their heating oil now when demand and cost are both lower.
To find out more about FPS and its latest campaign, visit www.oilsave.org.uk
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