Heating oil customers urged to buy early and avoid high costs



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Heating oil users are being urged to purchase their winter supply now in order to get the best deal before prices rise during the cold season.

The advice comes from local charity Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY) and is part of a ‘top tips’ initiative launched in advance of the annual ‘buy early’ campaign in September. Other advice includes topics such as looking after the security of your oil tank and preventing theft, dealing with oil suppliers and joining a local oil-buying cooperative.

RAY, a member of the Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) network, is keen to promote the idea of buying fuel supplies early as it has a range of benefits and is a key part of their work. Prices and demand tend to be lower in late summer and delivery is not disrupted by severe weather or increased demand.

The issue of severe weather becomes an even greater concern for residents living in rural Yorkshire. Leah Swain, Chief Officer of RAY, said: “It’s especially important to get your oil order placed early if you live in a remote, rural part of the county. Deliveries can get disrupted or delayed if a severe cold snap sets in and without fuel a cold house can quickly impact on your health...”

Furthermore, a high percentage of rural households are running oil energy as there is difficulty finding alternatives. ACRE chief executive Janice Banks said: “Research shows 36pc of homes in rural areas are off the gas grid, so many households rely on heating oil. In times of high demand, prices can increase rapidly, leaving the most vulnerable unable to afford to adequately heat their homes.” Such factors can eventually lead to fuel poverty, a growing concern in rural areas. RAY is currently raising awareness of other renewable heat sources which could be a potential alternative to oil in rural areas.

Each year, the ACRE Network joins forces with the Government and other organisations to spread the word that good advice is available to those households who depend on oil for their heating needs. The national Buy Early Campaign is due to start in earnest in early September, a partnership between ACRE, DECC, Citizens Advice and other stakeholders.

The top tips are available on the Rural Action Yorkshire website alongside more advice on fuel and energy, including a free toolkit on oil-buying cooperatives and a vast array of information on saving energy. It is hoped that the tips will go some way to highlighting the issues surrounding winter oil as well as raise awareness of the consequences of poor heating which can lead to serious health and wellbeing concerns.

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