Thursday, 18 September 2014 07:56

Minister backs 'early oil' campaign

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Minister backs 'early oil' campaign

RURAL residents are being urged to save money by stocking up on heating oil before winter.

The Buy Oil Early Campaign is being run by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Citizens Advice, the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing (UKAFA) and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers.

Energy minister Matt Hancock said: "The nights are drawing in and winter is just around the corner so we are encouraging people to stock up on oil sooner not later.

"It's better to order early when demand is low and prices are low and to make sure no household is caught out, especially in remote and rural areas, where roads can be disrupted and delivery times only increase as the weather gets worse.

"If you haven't thought about it, it's worth looking at establishing or joining a community buying group which makes oil prices cheaper for individual households."

Rural residents should check they were receiving all the help they were entitled to with your local Citizens' Advice Bureau, said Mr Hancock.

ACRE, which is the umbrella organisation for England's 38 rural community councils, said stocking up early with oil had a range of benefits.

Prices and demand tended to be lower in September and delivery was not disrupted by increased demand and icy weather.

ACRE Chief Executive Janice Banks said: "Research shows 36% 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 now so that they are prepared when the colder weather arrives and the time comes to switch on the heating.

Some 35 rural community councils have set up oil-buying groups.

Between them, they purchased more than 13 million litres of oil last year, saving almost £650,000 on behalf of rural customers.

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