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  • FIRST POST
    molokoid
    Bulk LPG - Cheapest suppliers / supply route?
    • #1
    • 29th Jun 08, 5:46 PM
    Bulk LPG - Cheapest suppliers / supply route? 29th Jun 08 at 5:46 PM
    Hi all,

    Moved into a house in Jan that has a bulk LPG tank, which was previously supplied (and the tank is owned by) Calor. The contract they were really keen for me to sign was quite a restrictive lock in one and after speaking and a bit of negotiating they dropped the standing charge and discounted the pence per litre by 12%. This only made me sceptical that they had a lot of fat in the price anyway and there seems to be limited information available on the net about bulk lpg supply (lots of websites that will find you the cheapest supply for a fee!). Seems to be crying out for a MSE article if there are enough bulk lpg owners out there.

    Anyway, i read that there is some sort of regulation coming into the market which allows me to choose the supplier i wish and in turn they buy the tank off the previous owners. This seems to be a more market competitive way of doing it, but i can't find out when this is due to happen.

    Are there any bulk lpg owners out there that can give me some advice?

    TIA
Page 63
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Phoned Countrywide yesterday regarding the new increase and queried the fact that one of the contributors to this topic was being supplied by Countrywide at 43p per litre while I was being charged 52.1p per litre. The young lady I spoke to suggested that the 43p customer was a grain drier - perhaps those of you who are leaving posts could let me know if you are private or business users and also your general location so that I might have the ammunition I need. A manager will be phoning me back on Monday or Tuesday to explain why the prices vary so much; should be interesting! I have also suggested that they might like to visit the moneysaving expert.com site to get an idea of the discontent among LPG customers. Watch this space!
  • HateLPG
    The young lady I spoke to suggested that the 43p customer was a grain drier
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    I suggest that the young lady you spoke to didn't know what she was talking about!

    As a point of reference, Typical annual LPG usage for a domestic property is somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 litres per year (according to more than one industry-insider).

    43ppl in today's climate is a pretty low price which I would only expect to be available to higher-volume users (or those being "bribed" to sign shiny new contracts with no binding limit on price increases), so the young lady in question was half-right.

    But with an annual consumption of circa. 6000l you are exactly the kind of a higher-volume user who should be getting a price in that sort of region. For what it's worth, we use about the same amount annually (give or take) and are paying 41.5ppl with Avanti (formerly Shell).

    Time to arm yourself with a notepad, sharpened pencil and some awkward and probing questions and call them back, methinks
  • LittleVermin
    <snip> perhaps those of you who are leaving posts could let me know if you are private or business users and also your general location so that I might have the ammunition I need. <snip>
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    I suggest you also ask how many litres they use per year. And whether they are in contract or out of contract - and if in contract how far in. Might be revealing!

    Last November Den2Mark reported (here) that he was told the distance from the depot had no bearing on prices - he was surprised!

    There are lots of posts by Countrywide customers - but ignore NormanMcL (post 1077) who, I guess, works for them as he produced an advertorial-type of post, but did not reply to my request for more info. If you send a pm to Countrywide customers, I'm sure you'd get more info in time for your chat with a Countrywide boss.

    When OFT replied to me a couple of months back they told me questions and comments about LPG should go to sharon.dias@oft.gsi.gov.uk . Useful! - OFT obviously want info.
    ..
    Last edited by LittleVermin; 28-01-2012 at 8:40 PM. Reason: deleted incorrect part of post
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Hi LittleVermin and HateLPG!

    You guys are magnificent in the information you provide! Many thanks to you both! As pensioners, the cost per month for us is crippling. Bill arrived today for 726.56; our last one in December was for 647.16. My pension is 671 per month and we don't over heat the house by any means. We use two rooms with the rest of the house literally shut off. We have a log burner in the lounge which actually makes the difference between freezing or surviving. I never thought that we'd be classed as a heavy user; as a matter of interest, what does constitute being a heavy user? So, any respondees to this post, just how much do you get through a year? All info gratefully received, and, once again, very, very grateful thanks to all of you who are taking the trouble to contribute to this thread!
  • LittleVermin
    <snip> So, any respondees to this post, just how much do you get through a year? All info gratefully received, and, once again, very, very grateful thanks to all of you who are taking the trouble to contribute to this thread!
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    HateLPG trawled posts to get prices, supplier, location, tank rental and usage for 2010 - see here, for 2009 - see here, for 2008 - see here.
    Last edited by LittleVermin; 28-01-2012 at 11:51 PM.
  • HateLPG
    ....and we don't over heat the house by any means. We use two rooms with the rest of the house literally shut off....
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    And you are using 6000l a year???

    If you are heating two rooms minimally, with a wood burner as a supplementary source, I would expect your usage to be closer to the 1500 litres a year mark - possibly even sub 1000 litres if you've half-way decent insulation and don't live somewhere too exposed. I'm not questioning your quoted figures, but 6000 litres a year is simply way out of line for the scenario you've given and I think perhaps you should to start digging a little deeper to find out exactly where all that precious gas is going.


    For comparison, I too am using about 6000 litres a year. I live in a four bedroom barn conversion in a highly exposed and windswept location at about 1000ft above sea level in the North of England. The house has solid stone walls and insulation possibilities are limited. Pretty much the whole living and sleeping area is heated (with TRVs on every radiator except the "bypass" rad, and the boiler timer adjusted to suit typical usage/occupancy patterns). We also use a woodburner to boost the temp in the living room, but generally we keep the house heated to a comfortable level with the main central heating. Our boiler is only a couple of years old. Replacing the old one made a huge difference, not so much to the usage, but at least now the new boiler is capable of heating the house to a reasonable level for the same amount of LPG and jumpers are no longer mandatory in cold weather.

    Are you using a modern bolier or an old boiler? If it's a very old one, you may well find that more of your LPG is going to heat the environment than your house (i.e. sub 50% efficiency). Likewise, is your central heating system in a decent state, with a good flow through all the pipes and are your radiators properly balanced with TRVs fitted where appropriate? If you have a reasonably modern bolier and your heating system is generally OK, and you are not keeping the house very hot for extended periods, I would stongly suspect that your LPG system has sprung a leak somewhere outside - 6000 litres a year to heat two rooms is just not plausible.

    Your supplier is supposed to carry out safety checks and essential maintenance (that's the whole point, supposedly, of your standing charge), so in theory they should identify and remedy any issues with your tank or pipework (up to the shut-off valve). In practice, though, many suppliers appear to take a fairly laissez faire approach to this - often, it seems, going not much further than the delivery driver ticking a box to confirm that the tank is actually still there, is in one piece and has not rolled over on to its side!

    If, having read this far, you have reasonable cause to suspect a leak, my inclination (if I were in your position) would be to spend a few quid to get an independent third-party inspection carried out on your tank and pipework. If this shows that there is indeed a significant leak that has not been identified by your supplier, it is quite likely you would have a very strong case to go after them for compensation in respect of the gas you have "lost" due to their negligence in the inspection process. Not to mention claiming back the so-called standing charge as they have clearly not met their obligations in this area if they have failed to identify and remedy a leak, to your detriment.

    Anyway, that's plenty to chew over and digest for now. Good luck, and please keep us all posted in respect of any "interesting" developments.
    Last edited by HateLPG; 29-01-2012 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Read badly, so tweaked
  • Vamos
    What is best owning your tank or renting? If you own do you get more choice of suppliers or do you still sign a contract?
  • drfrot
    Phoned Countrywide yesterday regarding the new increase and queried the fact that one of the contributors to this topic was being supplied by Countrywide at 43p per litre while I was being charged 52.1p per litre.
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    Grrr. It's this attitude from Countrywide, and their blatant disregard for the wholesale price that had me jumping ship the day my contract expired. If you read further back in this thread, you'll see their arbitrary price rises had me all the way up to 61ppl back in March 2011. All I ever got from them when I phoned to complain were platitudes about how terrible it all was, and the volatility in the global oil market etc etc blah blah blah.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    My December delivery from Cardiff Gas was at 43ppl - a price that has stayed constant since I joined them in Summer last year.

    G
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Many thanks HateLPG for your post! We live in an 1800s building which is actually three farm cottages knocked into one plus a fairly large single storey extension. We are out in the country and it can get very windy here at times. Outside temperature is very often two to three degrees lower than that of the neighbouring built-up areas. Total floor area is just short of 4000 square feet. The old walls are 9 inch and no cavity. Most of the rooms have two outside walls as the cottage is of the so-called linear layout. Some of the rooms appear to have studding with lined plasterboard to provide some sort of cavity. The roof is fairly new and has a breathable membrane type of sarking under the tiles. The loft areas are insulated to 30cm depth throughout. The new extension rooms are built to the latest standards and so have cavity walls with expanded polystyrene insulation. The boiler is about six years old, fully checked and serviced (Ferroli Sigma 60-100). It has an input rating of 20.5 kw (net) and an output of 17.9kw. I'm guessing that this means an efficiency of circa. 87%. We have 25 radiators of varying sizes, all modern plus an Aga in the kitchen. The two hall radiators don't have thermostats but do have quite a large area to cope with which includes the upstairs landing and corridor. The Aga uses 60 litres of LPG per week according to their own figures. We use the kitchen and the sitting room mainly, with the radiators in the rest of the house either turned down or completely off. We have 5 bedrooms only one of which we heat in addition to the two rooms previously mentioned. The boiler is timed to come on at 8.15 a.m. and go off at 9.30 a.m. It is timed to come on again at 4.30 p.m. and off again at 9.30 p.m. The boiler is more than capable of heating the whole house very cosily for when we have the whole family here, but at a price! There is a Sadia Megaflow hot water cylinder about five feet high which is fed from the boiler. The AGA is used for cooking but doesn't provide hot water heating. Once the warm weather comes, we turn the AGA off and don't turn it on again until September or even October. We have uvpc double glazing throughout.

    We have tried various ways of using the timings and numbers of rooms heated including a recommendation from a builder who writes for theTelegraph to turn the boiler down low and open all of the radiator valves to maximum whilst keeping the heating on all the time. His reasoning was that the boiler would coast as it wasn't having to heat the system up from scratch each time. We tried that out to a certain extent (daytime only) but chickened out after a couple of weeks! Our gas usage is as follows; 2008 6054 litres, 2009 5301 litres, 2010 6496 litres, 2011 6415 litres. We started off with Calor at 38.15p per litre which went up to 40.9p per litre half way through 2009. We changed to Countrywide in May 2010 and our first delivery was at 31p per litre with the next delivery to be at 32p per litre. When it came, we were charged at 45.35p per litre. In 2011 that went up to 52.1p per litre and we are now informed that it will go up to 55.6p per litre to take immediate effect. Incidentally, our most recent delivery was at 52.1p per litre.

    The tank, 2000 litres, underground, has been checked for leakage as has the boiler and associated pipework with no problems detected.

    So, if anyone has any good ideas as to how we should be using our central heating, please let me know! Countrywide haven't yet called me back but to be fair, they did say it could be Monday or Tuesday.
    Last edited by Ace gas guzzler; 30-01-2012 at 3:47 PM. Reason: Additional info
  • DAVID.T
    Many thanks HateLPG for your post! We live in an 1800s building which is actually three farm cottages knocked into one plus a fairly large single storey extension. We are out in the country and it can get very windy here at times. Outside temperature is very often two to three degrees lower than that of the neighbouring built-up areas. Total floor area is just short of 4000 square feet. The old walls are 9 inch and no cavity. Most of the rooms have two outside walls as the cottage is of the so-called linear layout. Some of the rooms appear to have studding with lined plasterboard to provide some sort of cavity. The roof is fairly new and has a breathable membrane type of sarking under the tiles. The loft areas are insulated to 30cm depth throughout. The new extension rooms are built to the latest standards and so have cavity walls with expanded polystyrene insulation. The boiler is about six years old, fully checked and serviced (Ferroli Sigma 60-100). It has an input rating of 20.5 kw (net) and an output of 17.9kw. I'm guessing that this means an efficiency of circa. 87%. We have 25 radiators of varying sizes, all modern plus an Aga in the kitchen. The two hall radiators don't have thermostats but do have quite a large area to cope with which includes the upstairs landing and corridor. The Aga uses 60 litres of LPG per week according to their own figures. We use the kitchen and the sitting room mainly, with the radiators in the rest of the house either turned down or completely off. We have 5 bedrooms only one of which we heat in addition to the two rooms previously mentioned. The boiler is timed to come on at 8.15 a.m. and go off at 9.30 a.m. It is timed to come on again at 4.30 p.m. and off again at 9.30 p.m. The boiler is more than capable of heating the whole house very cosily for when we have the whole family here, but at a price! There is a Sadia Megaflow hot water cylinder about five feet high which is fed from the boiler. The AGA is used for cooking but doesn't provide hot water heating. Once the warm weather comes, we turn the AGA off and don't turn it on again until September or even October. We have uvpc double glazing throughout.

    We have tried various ways of using the timings and numbers of rooms heated including a recommendation from a builder who writes for theTelegraph to turn the boiler down low and open all of the radiator valves to maximum whilst keeping the heating on all the time. His reasoning was that the boiler would coast as it wasn't having to heat the system up from scratch each time. We tried that out to a certain extent (daytime only) but chickened out after a couple of weeks! Our gas usage is as follows; 2008 6054 litres, 2009 5301 litres, 2010 6496 litres, 2011 6415 litres. We started off with Calor at 38.15p per litre which went up to 40.9p per litre half way through 2009. We changed to Countrywide in May 2010 and our first delivery was at 31p per litre with the next delivery to be at 32p per litre. When it came, we were charged at 45.35p per litre. In 2011 that went up to 52.1p per litre and we are now informed that it will go up to 55.6p per litre to take immediate effect. Incidentally, our most recent delivery was at 52.1p per litre.

    The tank, 2000 litres, underground, has been checked for leakage as has the boiler and associated pipework with no problems detected.

    So, if anyone has any good ideas as to how we should be using our central heating, please let me know! Countrywide haven't yet called me back but to be fair, they did say it could be Monday or Tuesday.
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    From your first post I would of agreed with HATE LPG that your usage was too high but the facts appear to be changing.

    if the aga is used for six months per year it will take 1600 lts. You heat two rooms with LPG but have two unregulated radiators heating the hall, so we are now up to at least 4 rads running off the boiler.

    Then the biggest issue is that when you say you have some rads turned down and some off (25 of them!), how many are actually off and how many are either turned down or on frost stat. If they are only turned down you will find that if your heating has been off all day, ALL the radiators will fire up on full for some time, even some frost settings kick in quite early.

    So to conclude i think you may be using the 6,000lts, but with that usage you should get a good price if you haggle as you are a great domestic customer for someone. If you wish to cut your usage make sure the rads in the rooms not used are completley off (if there is no water in those rooms to freeze) and think about giving up the aga, you can heat a lot with 60 lts per week
  • HenAderyn
    Hi everyone - I have just registered and haven't quite got the hang of things yet - please bear with me! I just couldn't resist joining the discussion.

    So, any respondees to this post, just how much do you get through a year?

    I have been a Countrywide customer for ten years (more fool me). The price I was given when I joined was pretty good but whopping increases in the last couple of years mean that my current price is 67.85ppl (+VAT). A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from them essentially saying that I am not using enough gas (only around 1,000l pa although it is my main source of heating) for them to make a profit from me and that I can either find another supplier or they will impose huge price increases from 1 March – tank rental up from 12.50 pq to 30 pq and price per litre up by 3.5p. Poor Countrywide – these increases have been forced on them by the ever-rising costs of maintaining their tank population, particularly to customers whose annual consumption is well below average. ( At over 70ppl it’s hardly surprising that I have to be economical with my heating.) In 10 years they have not lifted a finger to carry out any maintenance on my tank but they say that they need to ensure that their pricing policy reflects the full cost of supplying lpg to all their customers. (This is a company that last year posted record operating profits for the fourth consecutive year.)

    There isn’t a great deal of choice round here but two other companies gave me quotes at around 45-46ppl so I was beginning to think that Countrywide might have done me a favour. However, my Countrywide tank does not meet the new siting criteria. It will probably now need to be moved to a very conspicuous position, which is really annoying as it is neatly tucked away out of sight at the moment, never mind the cost. I am seriously considering getting rid of LPG altogether, except that I only had my new boiler installed just over a year ago and I can't afford to change to a new system. I am really furious that a utility supplier can put me in this position!
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Hadn't thought of that! (Radiators on low setting coming on fully at first). Having checked round the house, we appear to have about half of them on frost setting, four on a normal setting and six on a low setting. The two towel radiators and the two hall radiators are on full as they don't have thermostats. The Aga is a godsend as we not only use it for cooking and heating the kitchen, but also for ironing on top of the metal covers! Although it probably does get through some 1600 litres for our six months' use, it still leaves us some 4400 litres for the central heating. Many thanks for your input though David.T!

    With regard to HenAderyn, those prices you quote are horrendous! I hope to goodness that you somehow find a better deal and soon!

    One of the problems with LPG is that its users tend to be a captive audience in that they have no choice but to use it. We have a gas main running through a field about three hundred yards away from us. The cost of getting linked to it, even if it were possible, would be huge. So, we could go for oil, but we would have to convert or get new equipment, or we could go for wholly electric, again at substantial cost.

    Earlier contributors have mentioned that the suppliers are making a very large profit indeed on the wholesale price of LPG. The utilities have to publish tariffs but the LPG suppliers are completely secretive as to how they arrive at their charges. Maybe time for a government inquiry and action on the prices charged?
  • dickiedoodah
    Phoned Countrywide yesterday regarding the new increase and queried the fact that one of the contributors to this topic was being supplied by Countrywide at 43p per litre while I was being charged 52.1p per litre. The young lady I spoke to suggested that the 43p customer was a grain drier - perhaps those of you who are leaving posts could let me know if you are private or business users and also your general location so that I might have the ammunition I need. A manager will be phoning me back on Monday or Tuesday to explain why the prices vary so much; should be interesting! I have also suggested that they might like to visit the moneysaving expert.com site to get an idea of the discontent among LPG customers. Watch this space!
    Originally posted by Ace gas guzzler
    I have also recently received "the letter" regarding a 3.5 ppl price rise, I have written to back to Countrywide asking them to explain their reasoning in further detail.

    Back in March 2011 their last rise was 2.88ppl which they put down to the problems in Japan and the Libyan issue, since both situations have now calmed down and Countrywide farmers plc managed to make a gross profit of 4 million for 2011, I cannot understand how when the major energy suppliers are reducing their prices Countrywide has the nerve to raise theirs.

    With approximately 4 million users I am at a loss that the LPG market does not have a regulator to cap prices, it almost looks like these companies are in league with whom ever is in power!

    Seriously now considering investing in Solar Energy, but no doubt there will also be pitfalls and disasters to overcome if I go down that route!
  • DAVID.T
    I cannot understand how when the major energy suppliers are reducing their prices Countrywide has the nerve to raise theirs.
    Originally posted by dickiedoodah

    Major energy suppliers are selling MAINS gas, this is a totally different product to LPG. Its just not the same thing!!
  • frankie

    With approximately 4 million users I am at a loss that the LPG market does not have a regulator to cap prices, it almost looks like these companies are in league with whom ever is in power!
    Originally posted by dickiedoodah
    If you look back through the older posts you will see lots of comment regarding lack of regulation and the whitewash OFT report.

    But, you are correct in saying that lpg users do not have a 'body' that have lpg user's interests at heart.

    That is why you should contact the OFT with any relevant issues that you have with your supplier.
  • dickiedoodah
    Major energy suppliers are selling MAINS gas, this is a totally different product to LPG. Its just not the same thing!!
    Originally posted by DAVID.T
    Agreed David it's not the same Gas, but they are all energy suppliers.
    One is shoved down a pipe to your door, the other is liquid and transported by lorry. But if the main Energy suppliers can reduce prices mainly by public opinion and government pressure and of course a regulator, then why can't the LPG suppliers? Could it be because we the minor 4 million LPG users haven't got the same clout or sadly a regulator?
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Well, had a phone call back from Countrywide this afternoon, as promised. Expressed my annoyance, most politely, at the constant increases in LPG price and informed them that unless some major reduction was offered in the light of our high usage, I would be looking to change supplier in May. The chap who phoned me offered to halve, and then negate the latest rise. I informed him of the prices being offered by the competition, including Cardiff Gas at 43p per litre and asked for a further substantial reduction. He was not in a position to reduce the price further but would get a superior to call me back before the end of the day. Now 6.40 p.m., still need to hear from them so I'll await their call tomorrow. Have checked a few suppliers online, mostly the independents, and have also asked LPG Solutions to find me the best deal. Has anyone dealt with them before and was it worthwhile? Watch this space!
  • dickiedoodah
    I seem to remember reading somewhere if the the price went above 3/3.5 ppl we could change suppliers.
    Can anyone confirm this or was it just with one supplier?

    A slightly different matter, has anyone thought about trying to raise a petition of 100,000 signatures via the e-petition scheme to start a debate about LPG capping or introducing a regulator in the House of Commons?
    Considering we have 4 million (mostly disgruntled) users it shouldn't be too difficult. We could start a simple website where LPG users register.
    Anybody interested?
  • dickiedoodah
    I stand corrected, there is an E-petition:- (I'm evidently not allowed to a the link in) but look up epetitions.direct.gov.uk and look for LPG.

    Trouble is there's not many signatures, it needs a bit of spreading the word and some publicity............Lets get start signing!
  • Ace gas guzzler
    Good idea! As you say, it shouldn't be too difficult to get the required number of signatures as long as people can be made aware of its existence - maybe a few letters to the press would help?
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