After a colossal volume of criticism about its impartiality and opaqueness, Boilerjuice may become independent once again.
In 2005 Paul and Sarah Ward formed Boilerjuice as an independent group buyer for heating oil consumers, and sold it to oil distribution conglomerate DCC Energy around 2008. Ever since then, the service has come under suspicion of favouring the many 'brands' that DCC owns, and of only really being a sales front rather than a price comparison and group buying service.
The Daily Telegraph now reports that DCC is selling Boilerjuice back to its managing director, Paul Ward. In the report by Rowena Mason on 4 October 2011 [DCC to sell heating oil price comparison website Boilerjuice after OFT criticism], the company made the following statement:
Boilerjuice was, and remains, an independent price comparison website, comparing our prices and those of hundreds of independent suppliers to offer buyers the best prices in their area. Unfortunately, this independence was questioned by some quarters of the media, albeit incorrectly, because of our ownership of the site. We have therefore sold Boilerjuice to its managing director, Paul Ward, and wish him continued success at giving consumers a truly independent means of finding the best prices.
Clearly DCC Energy played its game with Boilerjuice as long as it could, but with the OFT report looming on price fixing and lack of competition in the domestic market, it must regard its position as untenable. At the very least, DCC is just trying to defelect attention away from the fact that it owns 40 or more heating oil supplier brands.