East Antrim householders are being urged to buy home heating oil early this year.
The heating oil trade association, FPS, (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) has joined forces with Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Consumer Futures to encourage customers to change their energy habits and order a supply before the onset of winter.
The FPS has launched its ‘buy oil early’ campaign with the support of the Energy Minister Matt Hancock, who said: “The nights are drawing in and winter is just around the corner, so we are encouraging people to stock up on oil, sooner not later.
“It’s better to order early when demand is low and prices are low and to make sure no household is caught out, especially in remote and rural areas, where roads can be disrupted and delivery times only increase as the weather gets worse.
“Please do also be sure to check that you are receiving all the help that you are entitled to with your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”
The campaign has been launched as oil prices have over the last two quarters dropped and the FPS is urging consumers to take advantage of the good prices on offer at the moment.”
Chief executive of the FPS, Mark Askew stated: “We have launched a ‘buy oil early’ campaign now in association with the government and consumer agencies and we hope people will heed our combined advice. We are urging people not to leave it to the last minute when the bad weather has taken hold and tanker drivers struggle to get through on roads covered in snow or ice.
“Our members remind customers that they should order early, but people have got into a pattern of ordering the minimum quantity. Customers have had a trend of ordering 500 litres and then run out in the middle of the worst weather, when tanker drivers just can’t get to them. We are trying to educate people to think ahead and be prepared.
“In winter, the United Kingdom can also experience shortages of heating oil at terminals. Demand is obviously governed by the weather and a prolonged cold snap like that of previous winters, means that the terminals are unable to provide product quickly enough and consumers can run out whilst waiting for deliveries as distributors have to go further afield to get supplies.
“The FPS also advises customers to set up a regularly monthly payment with their local oil supplier in order to offset higher bills during the winter months. By paying for oil in the summer months when oil is cheaper, customers can end up paying significantly less over the course of the year. There’s also the added advantage of not having to contend with much bigger fuel bills during the winter months.
“In an economic climate when energy prices are in the news daily, we are trying to educate consumers on ordering early and therefore pay less and manage their fuel budget better throughout the year.
The FPS has also developed a host of money-saving tips and useful advice on managing energy needs on their website www.oilsave.org.uk For detailed information on how installing a more efficient condenser boiler could save you hundreds over the year, to easy tips on making your existing system more efficient without spending a penny, www.oilsave.org.uk has been designed to help consumers get more from oil-fuelled energy.