Oil heating financial help

Hello
I done a house swap last July to a rural house that has a oil boiler, I have half filled the tank up twice so far costing me 250 a time it needs doing again which I did not anticipate I have rang my oil man up & he said for half a tank it is £350 as its gone up I really don't know what to do as I only get money once a month from universal credit which I already struggle on I'm a single parent with a 15 & 8 year old, I've not has the heating on last 3 days only early morning as I'm worried it will run out..I see there is help you can get if you are with a company is there any help I can get ASAP with oil not being with a supplier? the plug on the wall is flashing stating I am on 1 bar.Any answers appreciated.Thank you
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Comments

  • lohr500
    lohr500 Posts: 947 Forumite
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    Can't help with what financial aid you may be able to claim, but if you haven't done so already, ring several oil suppliers for a price. Don't just go with your last supplier. Check also with the online brokers like boilerjuice and fueltool. Sometimes they can actually be a bit cheaper and also they give you a benchmark price for comparison. Difficult given your finances, but if the tank will take significantly more than you are putting in, then get a quote for a bigger volume. Again you can see the difference that volume makes using the online suppliers.
  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,742 Forumite
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    There is no help for buying oil.  Does your supplier not allow you to set up a monthly direct debit plan?  I use  about 70% of my oil in the winter months.  In summer I use very little oil but still do a monthly payment.  Unfortunately oil is very expensive at the moment but so is electric.
  • markin
    markin Posts: 3,844 Forumite
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    edited 10 February 2022 at 2:33PM
    Oil is cheaper in the summer, you need to get a full tank when its at its cheapest, I believe its usually May-July?
    Boiler Juice is not always the cheapest, find Every local company and oil club.




  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,318 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
     I have half filled the tank up twice so far costing me 250 a time it needs doing again which I did not anticipate I have rang my oil man up & he said for half a tank it is £350 as its gone up
    The price of oil is only around the same price it was three years ago.  What happened is that during lockdowns, the oil price dropped significantly and oil companies were almost giving it away.    As we head to some normality, the price of oil has returned back to its pre lockdown level.     

    To be honest, if you are filling up the tank with just £250 a go, then that is a very small amount.   You don't say how many litres it is but its probably only around 400 litres.    So, its possible you are paying a higher price for ordering such a small amount.

    Unlike gas or electricity, you pay for oil as you use it.   You dont spread the cost over the year.   So, in the winter months, you use around 80% of the oil. Whilst in the summer months, you use virtually none.        If you have a small tank or you refill with smaller amounts, you would typically fill up three times over winter and once in Spring.  For example, mine is generally around November, December, February and May for fill ups.   So, there is a 6 month period i pay nothing and then three in quick sucession.

     the plug on the wall is flashing stating I am on 1 bar.
    That would suggest, assuming it is set up correctly, that you are about to run out.  You are about 1/10th left in there. At this time of the year that is probably between any time now and the next fortnight when you will likely run out.

    Ideally, you should have been budgeting for the winter months during the 6 months that you didn't spend anything on oil.  That is what you do with gas and electricity but with Oil, you have to do it yourself.

    What size is your tank?
    How many litres is that £350 getting you?


    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,147 Forumite
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    £250 would have been 500 litres at 47.62 p / litre + vat (and 500 litres is the minimum order delivery usually, perhaps even by Law?  Trading Standards metering accuracy?).    Today @ 64p a litre plus vat it would be £336 for the same volume of Kerosene and makes the £350 figure believable if a tad expensive. But the price per litre varies a bit by area of the UK & NI.

    Kerosene suppliers don't tend to 'half fill' a tank... rather delivering a fixed volume (e.g. 500 litres, 900 litres etc.,.).  Nor have I - to date - ever been offered a delivery based on the value (e.g. £300-worth).  It's not as easy to get a 'fill the tank' order in nowadays as it used to be (pay before delivery is the 'norm', but some suppliers accept Credit Card payments).

    OP must phone round for best price(s) and may need to seek advice from places such as Citizens Advice with respect to hardship type loans for this winter refill?  Some Kerosene suppliers may be sympathetic also and offer payment terms?  Assuming that no one else the OP knows can help financially, in the short term at least.

    The alternative of using electricity to heat the home and water would be even more costly.

  • Ebe_Scrooge
    Ebe_Scrooge Posts: 7,320 Forumite
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    Just to reiterate what others have said, here's my experience.
    Boilerjuice is useful for getting a benchmark price, but I've never found it to be the cheapest - still worth checking though.  Always ring half a dozen or so local suppliers.  The difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive can be as much as 7 or 8p a litre, which makes a big difference.  Also, the cheapest supplier one time will rarely be the cheapest the next time, so ring around every time you need to order.
    In my area, the minimum order is 500 litres, but the price-per-litre drops if you order 900 litres or more.  I know that's a big chunk of money at one go, but it's worth budgeting for if you're able.
    Local buying groups can make things cheaper.  Basically, if the supplier can send one truck out to deliver 10,000 litres within a small radius, their transport costs go down compared to sending the same truck to make just one delivery of 500 litres.  The only downside is that everyone uses oil at a different rate, so it can prove difficult to find a date when enough people need a fill-up at the same time.  But it's worth looking into.
    Finally, direct-debit schemes.  Most suppliers will offer these, but I personally wouldn't bother.  As stated previously, you'll find the cheapest supplier is different each time you order - so you really don't want to be tied to a single supplier.  Far better to put money aside yourself each month into a separate account, then use that to buy oil each time you need it, from whichever supplier is cheapest.  If, say, you'd be paying £60 per month via direct debit to a supplier, simply put £60 per month into your "oil" account.  If you're able to earn a bit of interest on that account, so much the better (although that's unlikely these days!).
    And yes, it's all about budgeting.  As several others have said, you'll use a lot in winter and hardly any in summer.  You need to be putting money aside each month so that it averages itself out over the year.  Just the same as a normal gas or electricity direct debit - most people find they're in credit during the summer, then they pay a lot more in winter, and it evens out overall.
    Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful.
  • lohr500
    lohr500 Posts: 947 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Agree 100% with Ebe_Scrooge.

    Stay clear of signing up to a single supplier's DD scheme. Over the past 6 years I have used 5 different suppliers, each time selecting based on the lowest quote.
    On one of those occasions BoilerJuice did come up with the lowest price. When I asked my other suppliers if they could match it, they all declined. The company who actually delivered the oil was based miles away, has since been taken over and no longer delivers to my area. Perhaps they were struggling and desperate for business at any price. 

    Locking yourself into one supplier means you can't shop around or possibly time your deliveries to coincide with periods when the price tends to drop. Typically prices do seem a bit cheaper in the Spring/early Summer as mentioned above. I read somewhere it was to do with higher demand for oil in the USA over winter, but I don't know if this is fact or fiction. 
  • canaldumidi
    canaldumidi Posts: 3,511 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 11 February 2022 at 8:00PM
    As others have said, when ordering oil always shop around for prices. Make yourself a list of suppliers for your area. Most nowadays you can get online quotes easily, some you may need to ring. To start you off here's my list, though it depends on your local area. Some duplication as many local firms have been taken over by nationals:
    Ordering larger quantities if you can brngs the price per litre down. Typical 'price points' where the price pl drops are 500, 900 or 1000 litres, then often 1500 2000 litres. Last minute/urgent orders tend tocost more than if you can wait a week/10 days as the supplier can then save transport costs by combining yours when delivering to someone else nearby.
    I have a large 2500 litre tank which gets filled once a year usually in summer when I spot a drop in oil prices, but if you are struggling with payments that approach may not be possible for you.
    Putting some £ aside in summer when you are not using oil would mean you can afford a bigger top up later when you need to order.
    The other thing to consider of course is insulation. There are schemes to help you insulate your home if you are on benefits /low income. eg


  • Gas prices will shoot up in April.  It is perfectly possible that this price increase will make oil heating cheaper to run than gas, which at the moment is the cheapest form of heating.  So your real problem may not be with your oil heating but with the massive increases in heating costs that are taking place at the moment.
    Reed
  • t3rm3y
    t3rm3y Posts: 141 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker

    And yes, it's all about budgeting.  As several others have said, you'll use a lot in winter and hardly any in summer.  You need to be putting money aside each month so that it averages itself out over the year.  Just the same as a normal gas or electricity direct debit - most people find they're in credit during the summer, then they pay a lot more in winter, and it evens out overall.
    Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful.
    Budgeting is handy, but not so helpful when the price per litre has doubled (quadrupled from when we first ordered oil about 6 years ago at around 23ppl). We budget for 500 litres around now and again in September , and usually costs about £260 ish, but now we are looking at nearly £500 for same amount and as the tank is low we cannot wait for warmer months.
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