14th Oct 2013

Heating Oil Buying Groups: what you need to know

It can be difficult to decide whether or not joining a community oil buying group is the best idea for you and your heating oil needs. With so much emphasis on prices and cost, it’s often confusing to see the real benefits (and negatives) of joining.

Although some businesses say bigger is better, the phrase ‘the best things come in small packages’ is often correct when dealing with heating oil groups.

What are the benefits?

Ordering fewer batches of oil to your village or town means less emissions from the trucks that deliver it. Although this might seem unimportant to you, think about the benefits that it will offer to the environment and the safety of your community.

Many people that order heating oil live in rural areas of the country, based near countryside and wildlife. Taking responsibility for the area that you live is important for the entire country, not just the community that you live in.

More vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly or disabled, may find it difficult to order their own heating oil; whether this is because they do not have access to the Internet, or perhaps they simply don’t feel confident doing so. Relatives or neighbours are able to join a buying group and represent these members of the community.

What are the weaknesses?

Although joining a community oil group does have advantages, there are certain things you should take into consideration before making a decision.

It may appear on the surface that you will save on heating oil costs by teaming up with you neighbours, but with group joining charges, these costs may outweigh the savings. You should be careful when dealing with membership charges and other costs. By joining a smaller, local group, it’ll be less likely that membership charges occur.

You may not need to order at the same time as your neighbours, depending on whether you have ran out before them, or have enough to last you slightly longer. This can cause friction between residents if one person decides that they do not wish to order at the same time as everyone else.

Another issue that occurs, when ordering as a group, is the delivery process. Ensuring that everyone is available on the day and time of the delivery can be a difficult task. Some people may have to book time off work, which could counteract the savings made from ordering as a group.

You may also find that certain members may be irresponsible payers; this jeopardises the credit rating of the rest of the group, and could meant that oil companies refuse delivery to you as a group.

All of the above issues reaffirm the fact that having a smaller, less business-like oil buying group means that there are fewer risks involved, it’s safer for the community, and more savings can be made.

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