As the UK experiences the first sub zero temperatures and with snow forecast in many areas of the country, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) is urging home heating oil users to change their energy habits to avoid being caught out by the winter weather.
The FPS recently launched their ‘buy oil early’ campaign with the support of the Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, “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. ”
Chief Executive of the FPS, Mark Askew says, “We launched a buy oil early campaign in September in association with the Government and Consumer agencies, ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), Citizens Advice Bureau and Consumer Futures but many people still haven’t heeded our 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 UK can also experience shortages of heating oil at terminals. Demand is obviously governed by the weather and a prolonged cold snap like that of last winter, 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,” adds Mark.