Minister backs campaign to buy oil early
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

Heating oil users are being urged to save money by stocking up early before winter in a joint campaign backed by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

ACRE has joined forces with Citizens Advice and FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) for the Buy Oil Early Campaign, which is supported by Energy Minister Matt Hancock.

ACRE, the national voice for England’s 38 rural community councils, says stocking up early has a range of benefits. Prices and demand tend to be lower in September and delivery is not disrupted by increased demand and icy weather.

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.

“We are urging households to buy their oil now so that they are prepared when the colder weather arrives and the time comes to switch on the heating.

Energy Minister Matt Hancock 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.

“If you haven’t thought about it, it’s worth looking at establishing or joining a community buying group which makes oil prices cheaper for individual households.”

“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.”

Twenty-five members of the ACRE Network have set up oil-buying groups. Last year, they bought more than 13 million litres of oil between them, saving almost £650,000 on behalf of rural customers. ACRE has also issued its top ten tips for heating oil users.

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Media contact: Claire McGine, Communications Manager, 01285 653477 ext 107

Notes for Editors

The Minister of State for Energy is supporting the coordinated campaign launched on 10 September. The campaign is run this year by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Citizens Advice, the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing (UKAFA), and FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers); and involves the ACRE Network, oil buying groups and rural community councils.

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage consumers to stock up early on winter supplies when suppliers have spare delivery capacity to delivery quickly. In the previous prolonged severe winter weather many of the oil distribution companies had an increase in orders and backlogs in delivering oil particularly in remote and rural households where roads where disrupted by snow and ice or by flooding.

More information about creating or joining a community buying group can be found on the Citizen’s Advice website

For more information about the FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) Code of Practice and Customer Charter visit the OILSAVE website