Top ten tips as oil customers are urged to buy early
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

a Rural charity ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is urging heating oil customers to follow its top ten tips ahead of the annual ‘buy early’ campaign.

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

The top ten tips include advice on looking after your oil tank, guarding against theft, dealing with suppliers and joining an oil buying club.

As part of ACRE’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty, 25 members of its Network run oil-buying groups, varying in size from 35 up to 2,600 members. The total amount of oil purchased last year was more than 13 million litres, which made a total estimated saving of almost £650,000 for members.

Some of these schemes are providing extra help with a range of offers, such as free membership to over-70s, sourcing LPG or wood, and access to local Credit Unions to enable members to save and pay for their oil on a monthly basis.

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 early so that they are prepared when the colder weather arrives and the time comes to switch on the heating.”

Each year, ACRE joins forces with the Government and other organisations to spread the word that good advice is available to those households who depend on oil for their heating needs. The national Buy Early Campaign is due to start in earnest in early September.

Best Practice for Oil Buying Groups, produced by ACRE, Citizen’s Advice and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers, provides practical information to help communities set up oil buying groups.