Buy Heating Oil Together
West Sussex has around 75,000 homes that do not have mains gas heating. This is because these properties are not connected to the mains gas network which means they rely on either electric, bottled gas (LPG) or oil for their heating and other energy needs. These forms of energy are usually much more expensive and therefore Councils are committed to helping make energy more affordable for ‘off-gas’ residents. Oil clubs are one way of reducing the cost of heating your home.
What is an oil club?
An oil club is a group of people who combine their orders together to buy domestic heating oil in order to negotiate a cheaper price.
Groups can vary in size, but typically will need over 20 members to achieve financial savings. Some groups have hundreds of people.
How does it work?
The idea is to join together to get the lowest price per litre through collective bulk buying. It also reduces the number of tanker journeys, which reduces delivery costs, saving carbon and minimises the traffic and wear on local roads. It also encourages rural villages to work together as a community, and offers support and protection for more vulnerable or low income residents.
Each group may work slightly differently. Typically the co-ordinator will negotiate a best price for all members and then either place a group order or tell members the price and they place their own order. The payment is still made direct to the supplier in most cases. Some groups may charge a small membership fee to cover administration costs.
Local groups in West Sussex
The list below shows groups that we have been made aware of within West Sussex. Please contact the co-ordinators below for more information and membership enquiries.
Amberley oil syndicate – Steve Kennett – Phone: 01798 831010 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bosham Fuel Syndicate- Covers Aldingbourne, Bosham & Lavant. Angela Watkins- Phone: 01243 574949 E-mail:email@example.com
East Ashling Oil Syndicate- Jo Laird – Phone: 01243 574878 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funtington – John Peart – Phone: 01243 575565 Email: email@example.com
Lodsworth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Milland syndicate – Bob Cheesewright – Email: email@example.com
Find out if a club exists in your area from the list above or ask your parish council. Ask neighbours and friends if they buy their oil together. If not, you may wish to set up a group of your own. If you already have a small buying group of less than 20 people speak to the co-ordinators of existing clubs, as they may be willing to add take on the group within a larger buying club.
In order to start your own club you will need to have a small group of people interested in helping to set one up, which would ideally include the Parish Council or a local community group, and other local organisations if possible. To achieve any significant savings you will need at least 20 people in the club to start with.
For more information on oil buying groups, including a best practice guide and steps to setting up and running a group, please visit the Citizens Advice website.
National and online groups
These groups are typically internet based, and therefore only suitable for those with internet access and a means of online payment. There are a number of other websites that operate in a similar way to those listed below.
Boiler Juice (www.boilerjuice.com) – Various oil suppliers enter their prices on to the website and the cheapest prices are displayed based on the criteria of the order. Your order is grouped with other local orders, and you are notified once the group reaches the minimum order quantity. Payment is made online to BoilerJuice Limited by debit / credit card.
Oil-Club (www.oil-club.co.uk) – Various oil suppliers enter their prices on to the website and the cheapest prices are offered based on the criteria of the order. Your order is grouped with other local orders, and you are notified once the group reaches the minimum order quantity. Payment is made online to Oil Club Limited by debit or credit card.
Other tips for cheaper oil
- You can use the above online websites to benchmark prices, then contact a few local suppliers and see if they can beat it.
- The more oil you order, the better the discount you might be able to achieve.
- Remember that there can be long and short term fluctuations in the price of heating oil. Summer, when demand is low, is often the cheapest time to buy. Always plan ahead, and give yourself a few weeks to get the best prices – emergency deliveries can cost about 10% more.
Oil is a valuable fuel therefore it is important to store it responsibly to avoid leaks, which can cause health and pollution issues. The following booklet from the Environment Agency gives advice about looking after your heating oil, what to do if you discover an oil leak, and what to check is covered on your insurance policy in case you have a spill.
Oil Care Booklet
Help to connect to mains Gas
SGN Help to Heat scheme – supporting connections to the mains gas network.
SGN is helping to make homes warmer by offering free or discounted gas connections to low-income and vulnerable customers. Through the Help to Heat scheme, SGN is supporting people living in fuel poverty and the funding is available to you as a house owner or tenant. Whether you live in a flat, bungalow, house or park home, connecting to the mains gas network can contribute to improving energy efficiency and heating your home for less.
For more information about the Help to Heat scheme, including qualifying criteria, please visit the SGN website or call them on 0800 183 0025.