The OFT wades in to the Oil Scam debate

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The oil buying public have been calling for it, politicians have been discussing it, and finally the Secretary of State for Energy requested it: The Office of Fair Trading is to examine energy supply to off-grid customers. A study like this had been pencilled in for completion during 2012, but the OFT has confirmed that it expects to publish its recommendations by October 2011.

The inquiry will investigate how effectively the market works, across the whole of the UK, for buyers of heating oil and liquid gas (LPG) and also for off-grid people with neither. It will essentially determine if there are (or have been) anti-competitive practices going on, and this extends to terms and conditions - not just prices. It is also interested in delayed deliveries, difficulties in switching and a lack of transparency in the market. The study will look at the market picture on a local, regional and national basis; this encompasses 2.5 million households, of which around 1.5 million use heating oil.

One interesting aspect is how renewable sources can play their part in reducing an off-grid consumer's dependence on oil-based products. Solar water heaters, ground / air source heat pumps and wood chip burners are all candidates for micro-generation alternatives.

Most important of all, this is not going to be a cosy chat with the FPS. The OFT will be seeking "the experience of customers: the OFT proposes to survey the views of off-grid energy users around the UK". This is your chance to have a voice in the oil supply market!

To make sure you don't miss out on this opportunity, drop your email address into the pop-out box on the right and I will let you know when the OFT starts the survey process. (If you can't see the pop-out box, please contact me and let me know your email address from there.) You can also keep up to date on Facebook, at the new heating oil page.

You can see an overview of the study here: Off grid energy study.

OFT Press release on 25 January 2011: OFT to examine energy supply to off-grid customers


6 Comments

by Gordon on 01 September 2011 Reply
I just got adelivery in Northampton at ?35 cheaper than my normal supplier for 500 liters. I used a new (for me anyway) online one called valueoils.com - it all went really well - delivered the very next day and no nonsense - GORDON ZOE.
by Gordon Mills on 22 March 2011 Reply
Before New Year I called Brogans many times to order 500 litres of kerosene but was told that they were too busy attending to pensioners, hospitals, old folks homes and the disabled etc.

Funny because I work with Halliburton Oil Tools and Services in Montrose, and they had two huge deliveries of oil during this time.

When Brogans finally found the time to come and put the kerosene in my tank they decided to FILL it with 807 litres instead of the 500 litres I ordered. Could this be because the price was at an all time high of 72 pence per litre, as opposed to the 45 pence or so it would be in summer?

by carole moroni on 29 January 2011 Reply
i got a quote from boiler juice for my sister in dorset of 1.52ppl it was next day delivery but this was is january the same qty & delivery window at the beginning of december was 59.25
by w. fisher on 26 January 2011 Reply
My supplier charged 46.5 p/ltr in Nov 2010 and

61.5 p/ltr in Jan 2011 the price hike of 32% seems

excessive but being OLD OAP"s we did get the fuel a allowance but I suspect less heat than the allowance intended.

by caroline kershaw on 26 January 2011 Reply
I live in the borders North Northumberland and we have no gas supply in our rural village. I had a delivery on 10/1/11 of 1234 Litres which cost me ?854 inc vat.The suppler was Brogan Fuels which is a division of GB Oil Ltd. The unit price is 65.25. so I am interested to read that 1500 litres should be no more than ?800.
by Shaida Van Helfteren on 26 January 2011 Reply
I was just about to order 1500 litters of domestic heating oil at around ?18000. Should I hold back for a bit longer in the cold for it to come down, or am I too gullible and it ain't going to happen? That is really all what I want to know! I live out in the sticks, in the gorgeous North Wales and I have sheep for my neighbours!
by John Swindells on 26 January 2011 Reply
You didn't really mean ?18000 did you? 1500 litres should be no more than ?800 at the moment.

In my opinion, prices should continue to fall for a while yet. I would monitor daily until you see an upward trend or until you're desperate!

by Shaida Van Helfteren on 26 January 2011 Reply
Thank you John, I did mean ?1800. After all, what is an extra digit among oil distributors? However, John, you did not mention the name of that angelic supplier!
by John Swindells on 26 January 2011 Reply
Nobody should be quoting that much for 1500L! You're getting quoted over twice the market rate. Check whichoilsupplier.co.uk or cheapestoil.co.uk for a supplier near to you.
by John Swindells on 01 March 2011 Reply
You should also see if OilBuying.co.uk can help you out. You may discover an oil buying group in your area, and that could save you lots of money!

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