The publication "Best Practice for Oil Buying Groups”, explains how oil is traded, things to consider before setting up an oil buying group and ideas on how to run and manage a group once established. It highlights some pitfalls to avoid and helps assess the best option for a community.

Now is the time to prepare for winter and to think about heating oil needs. Stocking up early by purchasing oil in late summer and early autumn has a number of advantages. The price of heating oil tends to be lower, customer demand for oil is lower and suppliers have spare delivery capacity. Customers who order at the last minute run the risk of paying higher prices and waiting longer for a delivery. One of the busiest times for oil suppliers is the run up to Christmas, which means there are longer delivery delays and customers risk being left without heating.

Last winter’s adverse weather conditions made fuel deliveries difficult and when temperatures dropped it pushed oil orders to twice the seasonal norm. Customers who let their tanks run critically low during the summer risked running out completely and were left without heating during this bitterly cold spell. In these increasingly difficult financial times some customers are waiting as long as possible to re-fill their tanks. However, buying in summer when prices are lower can make a big difference.

Another way for households to save money on their heating fuel is to set up or join a heating oil buying group. Buying groups purchase oil in bulk on behalf of members which enables them to negotiate the best price per litre. Oil buying groups have achieved significant savings for their members.

ACRE contact: Louise Rixham, Environment and Climate Change Officer ( 01285 653477 ext 110