With gas and electricity prices still on the rise, it’s no surprise that energy bills are high on the list of homeowner worries. In fact, online watchdog Which? has recently named energy prices as one of the chief financial concerns for consumers, with over 41% of householders stating that they are “worried about the cost of heating their home this winter”.
In a statement released in September this year, the company’s Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, voiced his concern for energy prices, calling for a review of the marketplace.
Mr Lloyd stated: “The energy market remains at rock bottom for consumer trust. Millions of customers still don’t think they’re paying a fair price and most people find it hard to compare deals”.
However, despite uncertainty in the mainstream energy market, heating oil users have seen an unprecedented drop in costs. Figures released today by the UK’s leading heating oil comparison site have revealed that households in England are currently paying, on average, up to 25% less for their annual heating oil bill compared to last year, with some customers paying up to £400 less for their annual supply.
BoilerJuice Founder, Paul Ward, believes that while these falling prices may benefit oil users in the short-term, there could be long-term shortage issues if cold weather hits over winter.
Mr Ward commented: “A significant drop in demand, largely due to a warm summer, mild autumn and a reduction in crude oil prices, is contributing to the drop in market prices. However with winter just around the corner, poor weather can typically lead to a sudden increase in demand for heating oil, which in turn can lead to a shortage in supply. If this happens, oil suppliers will be forced to go further afield to source their supply, which can leave customers waiting for deliveries”.
Mr Ward’s thoughts have been echoed by communities across the country, with ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) releasing a campaign promoting the benefits of ‘buying early’ to heating oil users in August this year.
Energy Minister Matt Hancock has also voiced concerns about heating oil supply issues, pointing out that this situation can be worsened in remote or rural areas, where tanker drivers struggle to get through on roads covered with ice and snow. Mr Hancock also stated that “delivery times only increase as the weather gets worse”, and urged homeowners to buy their heating oil early to avoid this situation.
As with any household expense, if you do choose to buy early, it is important to compare prices to find the best deal. Use an impartial price comparison site to get the best price for your area and always take advantage of any special offers, deals or benefits offered by distributors (for example, group savings when multiple orders are placed in the same area).