Off-grid communities who use heating oil can save money on their fuel by joining or setting up heating oil buying groups. Buying groups purchase oil in bulk on behalf of members which enables them to negotiate the best price per litre. This is not a new idea, but it seems that the numbers have grown rapidly over the last few years.
In England the ACRE website provides a link which allows oil users to check if their local RCC runs an oil buying scheme.
According to the ACRE website twenty-four members of the Rural Community Action Network are helping rural residents by bulk-buying central heating oil at much better prices than individuals can get for themselves. Members of the Network that do not run their own schemes may be able to give advice on how to set up a group, or find out about groups that exist in their area.
ACRE reports savings are usually about 5p per litre cheaper than the average prices quoted by oil suppliers (this may vary from place to place and according to circumstance). This means that the annual subscription of £20 (plus VAT) is quickly and easily recovered and members can be confident of being better off as a result of using the scheme.
Oil users in England, Wales and Scotland can find out if there is an oil buying group/ club in their area using the Citizens Advice website. The website has information about oil buying clubs and an oil clubs map which enables consumers to identify the nearest club in England, Scotland and Wales.
ACRE, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) and Citizens Advice have produced ‘Best Practice for Oil Buying Groups’. This helpful document explains how heating oil is traded, points to consider before setting up or becoming involved in an oil buying group and how to manage a group.
The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers introduced a Code of Conduct in September 2013 which is mandatory for their members. ACRE recommends using oil suppliers who are FPS members and therefore must adhere to this code. They have also made a useful site for customers called Oilsave.
There are price comparison sites for oil and LPG users, for example:
Heating oil users – Boiler Juice.com – 0800 321 3275
LPG users – Switch My LPG – 0800 2289165
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45