Wootton Oil Buying Group on The One Show

The village of Wootton in Oxfordshire has been quietly saving lots of money on home heating oil, and now has had a prime spot on the BBC current affairs programme The One Show. Here is the oil buying piece:

Your home is heated by oil, and you're fed up with sky high prices. Well you might want to take some inspiration from the village of Wootton, in Oxforshire. The british countryside is certainly easy on the eye, but living in rural britain can be hard on the wallet. Areas like this in Oxfordshire has been hit by rising petrol prices, getting around is already expensive, and now just keeping warm is a becoming a luxury. One and a half-million homes in the UK are not connected to the gas mains. Instead they have one of these, a tank filled with oil. But keeping your house warm and your tank full, is costing residents more and more. This winter, some living in rural areas saw the price of oil go up 70%, but was the price height justified? There was so much concern, that the office of fair trading is investigating, but after the long cold spell costumeres are really feeling the pinch.

Vivian Williams: "When it gets as it has in the past few years, exceptionally cold on those nights, we have it ticking over all night, keeping the temperature at a relativly comfortable level."

Interviewer: "So it's not cheap? "

Vivian Williams: "No. And it doesn't look like it's going to get cheaper."

So, if you want to be in full control, what can you do?

Chris Pomfret: "Well there's a huge amount of money being made on heating oil. One day I saw three different delivery trucks come on the same day to three different houses on the same street. It was very obvios - all buy oil together to therefore bring the prices down. "

When local business man, Chris Pomfret, realised this, he did something about it.

Chris Pomfret: "Let's look at the price on the fifteenth, and if it stays around the low fifties, then we'll get you 500L through that. If it's shot up again, then let's leave it till the end of the month, so there's plenty left. "

He now negotiates from oil companies on behalf of 90 people in his village in hodson in Oxforshire to keep costs at a minimim. How much are the people of Wootton saving?

Chris Pomfret: "Just over a year, this community must have about £16445 between them, which is £16445 remaining in the community, which is very important. "

Mary Lapher has knocked £500 off her oil price since joining 18 months ago.

Mary Lapher: "I moved into this village having never bought oil before. I had no what I was doing, I just went with the supply that was there. I would never go back to that now given the chance, It's so much easier, I don't have to worry about the negatiating, It's always organised for us and it's really working well."

It's also helped bring the community closer. When 88 year old, Claire Stott ran out of oil, the group donated their own supply's to keep her home heated. She's a convert to the oil buying scheme.

Claire Stott: "Join the co-operative as soon as you can. That's really the answer because if you're keen on the enviroment then it stops too many tanks coming around, and if you're keen on money, or keen on both, then it gets you much cheaper oil."

"So if you want to keep the cost of you're heating oil down, listen to the people of Wotton. "

"Getting other people to buy you're oil, you get a better price. "

"Get a new price every time you buy. "

Matt: "We're actually part of a little oil syndicate in our village. "

Alex: "Have you saved any money, Matt? "

Matt: "Oh, yeah, lots. Course. Well I will after watching that! Definetely."

For more information, go to oilbuying.co.uk.

Kindly transcribed by Daniel Swindells.


2 Comments

by Chris Pomfret on 16 April 2011 Reply
Firstly, THANK YOU for posting this John - brilliant.

Secondly, Carole you are absolutely right there are alot of groups coming together to buy heating OIL. And this is not new, I have unearthed groups that have been doing it for 20 years! BUT here's the critical thing (and the bit that The ONE Show weren't keen to cover) - IF run properly a buying group is far more than just trying to nail down price...it is a critical and inclusive community service for everyone in the village or villages it covers. Our goal is to link every off-gas community to generate a huge groundswell - a people's movement no less - to create change to an industry that is creaking under the pressure of the monopoly that DCC (there I said it!) is inflicting on it. Our goal is to work WITH the independents because we have found some really clever ways we can generate benefits for all. PLEASE do email me with details of where you are - we'd like to work with you.

Finally, we have never placed a group order with a DCC company so far...although as we expand to even more areas we all know that this will be almost unavoidable in some areas, because they have 80% coverage.

Watch this space - these are interesting times and in ten years time this industry will look and work very different to the version we have in 2011.

by Tim Beaumont on 11 July 2011 Reply
It's a great idea to reduce costs but I believe it is a way we can all contribute to lowering our carbon footprint. One or to wagons a monthe rather than one or two a day cominmg into our communities must be good.

We are moving to east Herefordshire, Ledbury area.

Is there an organisation in this area?

by scott rawson on 23 April 2011 Reply
Hi,

having read this, I am inspired to start a similar scheme in my village. Would it be possible to get some advice from Chris on the 'does and dont's' of starting an oil coop? Kind regards Scott

by chris on 23 April 2011 Reply
Hi Scott...brilliant...track us down at www.oilbuying.co.uk and we can help you get started - we made all the mistakes so others don't have to!

Chris

by carole on 16 April 2011 Reply
i work for a independent oil company & their are lots of this going on but at present the one company the owns lots of company are trying to buy back the customers that they ripped off in winter & put smaller companies out of buisness at the same time so next time you get a price make sure its not that company ? ? ? think all no what company that is by now three litte letters

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