Don’t get caught out when heating oil prices start to rise as temperatures start to drop!

Cold weather signifies the expectation - and dread for many, of higher fuel bills. Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the umbrella organisation for Rural Community Councils, in collaboration with Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice and the FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) are encouraging heating oil customers to buy early before winter.

Now is the time for households to prepare for winter and to think about their heating oil needs. Stocking up early by purchasing oil in autumn has a number of advantages. The price of heating oil tends to be lower, customer demand 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 can be longer delivery delays and customers risk being left without heating especially if the winter weather becomes severe.

John Hayes, Energy Minister said: "I welcome the campaign by consumer groups and industry to encourage heating oil consumers to stock up early this winter."

"Previous severe winters show that it is better to stock up before the cold weather sets in, when suppliers have spare delivery capacity."

"Ordering oil later risks longer delivery times, especially if cold weather increases demand and disrupts deliveries."

"I would also encourage all consumers to save money on heating their homes by ensuring their homes are fully insulated."

Another way for households to save money on their heating fuel is to set up or join a heating oil buying group. RCCE’s own county-wide oil buying scheme has achieved significant savings for its members and is bringing communities together to make the most of joint buying power, helping households, community organisations and local businesses with high fuel costs to make savings. RCCE’s Business Development Manager Shelley Labbett said “We would encourage members to plan ahead this autumn. Prices during the Christmas season inflate considerably. For this reason the scheme does not buy in December, but will have two buying dates in January.”

Joining the scheme is easy; go to the Oil Buying Scheme section of the website or call our dedicated oil telephone line 01376 574340 for details and a membership form.