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Thu, Sep

How to save on your Heating Bill this Winter! (Part II)

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The Hopatcong Lake Regional News has just completed an exhaustive survey across 24 of our local Heating Oil providers, to help you find ways to save on this winter’s heating bill.

In digging through our findings, we believe you can save between $350.00 to $500.00 just by reading this article and following these steps.

Major Points of this Article:

  • The Heating Oil delivery service is very competitive (there are good deals!)
  • Heating Oil costs change daily based upon Oil Futures
  • Heating Oil is always lowest in the Fall and raises throughout the winter period due to demand
  • You have a choice of Discount, Full Service and Co-op/Buying Groups depending on your needs
  • Price Cap agreements may provide a good solution, while protecting you from raising prices
  • You can create your own group of local buyers, to further negotiate even lower prices

 

Bottom Line: Act now to get the best price of the season, lock into a yearly contract that provides the lowest cost, and provides the maximum rewards (i.e. $100 sign-up reward). Want further discounts? Create a buyers group of your neighbors and bargain an even lower price. Lastly consider buying groups that force the price down, while giving you Cap Protection that protects you against higher prices, as the price will never exceed $2.07 for example.

 

Background:

As we entered this survey, we expected to find that Heating Oil Companies had a wide variance in their pricing. But, what we found on the surface is most vendors seem to be within a $0.03 to $0.09 range of each other when questioned about their COD Delivery Service.

To conduct this survey, we questioned 24 Oil Companies that advertise in the yellow pages that they deliver to the Morris/Sussex areas. Surprising, several refused to respond to the survey, as they wanted to keep their pricing away from the customer base. We also found that another six had closed within the last several months. Which gave us a total of 14 final Oil Companies for your final consideration.

 

So, what can you save?

While we don’t know what you currently pay for Heating Oil, assume you can reduce your price by just $0.07 a gallon over the winter, and possibly get up to a $100 credit for signing a one-year agreement. Based upon the average usage in New Jersey of 1,200 gallons of Heating Fuel, you would save $200 just based upon this change. If you add in the ability to pay the lowest price and cap the price at a low figure, your savings could reach $500.00 over this winter.

 

First, select the plan matched to your requirements

1. Cash on Delivery

If you are not worried about service contracts, Raising Oil prices, and only want the Heating Oil at the lowest prices today, then Cash on Delivery (COD) is the right plan for you. Just pick the lowest provider when you need Oil and pay by credit card on-line to get the lowest price possible (about $0.03 to $0.09 cheaper). But before ordering, make sure you have shopped around and are getting the lowest cost. Also, the lower pricing comes with at least 300 gallons

Consider these COD Oil Companies (Based upon 300-gallon delivery):

Company:                                                           300 Gallon Delivered Price (changes daily)

  • Advantage Oil                                            $1.83 gallon
  • Cozy Oil Inc.                                              $1.83 gallon
  • Fossil Fuel Oil                                            $1.83 gallon (Automatic Delivery: -$0.03)
  • Liberty Discount Fuel                                 $1.87 gallon (Order Online -$0.02)
  • Pilgrim Oil Group                                       $1.83 gallon
  • Starz Oil Co                                               $1.83 gallon (Senor Discount: -$0.02)

Also, consider these Full Service Oil Companies (Based upon 150 gallon delivery):

Company                                                           150 Gallon Delivered Price (changes daily)

  • Dixon Energy                                            Call - (Credit Card: -$0.10)
  • Eco-Fuel Oil Inc.                                       $1.84 gallon
  • Hopatcong Oil Co                                     $1.89 gallon
  • Falcon Oil                                                 $1.85 gallon
  • Region Energy                                         $1.91 gallon
  • Suburban Propane                                   $1.89 gallon
  • Wilson Fuel Co Inc.                                  $1.89 gallon

 

2. Annually Contract

If you like a more stable way of doing business and need service contracts on your heating system, select a full-service provider, you can get a big upfront discount (up to $100 credit), for signing an automatic fill agreement from many of the full-service vendors. So by selecting the right Oil Company, you can get protection for your oil tank (above ground), hearing system and get automatic delivery, so you don’t have to watch the gauge.

For automatic delivery, these full-service providers use a very sophisticated software program that understands your usage and the degree day’s to understand when to refill your tank.

Consider these Full Service Oil Companies:

Company                                                    Special Offers

  • Dixon Energy                                     -$0.03Monthly Plan, Referral & Loyalty Programs
  • Eco-Fuel Oil Inc.                                $10.00 first delivery
  • Hopatcong Oil Co                              -$0.02 Senior Discount
  • Falcon Oil                                            
  • Region Energy                                   New Account $100 + Referral plan, 1st Responders
  • Suburban Propane                              Referral 35 gal free
  • Wilson Fuel Co Inc.                            -$0.02 Senior Discount

 

3. Price Cap

Lastly, if you are looking for a full-service supplier (as above) and would also like to lock your price “at a not to exceed price” then you may want to select the Price Cap Option. In this case, you will pay the lower price of the day for your deliveries, but when prices go up, you are capped at the price you negotiated. So, if home Heating Oil goes to $2.15 a month you are protected at the lower price (i.e. $2.07 with NJCA Oil Group).

Warning: Make sure that you check with the provider to ensure you get the lower price if oil pricing is below your cap, as one supplier we spoke with would always charge you the higher price!

Consider these Full Service Oil Companies for Price Caps:

Company                                                           Price Cap

  • Dixon Energy                                            Call

Consider these Buying Groups for Price Caps:

Company                                                          Price Cap

  • NJCA Oil Group                                       $2.07

Note: In the case of NJCA Oil Group we found that they are a non-profit group in New Jersey that uses their collective buying power to lower prices for both Full Service and annual contracts. In their case, with an annual $30 fee to belong to their group, you can pay the lowest price on oil with the cap protection of not paying over $2.07 if oil prices go up.        

 

Understanding the Oil Pricing Trends:

Home Heating costs are based upon the Crude Oil pricing, so as oil goes up, so will Home Heating Costs. Also, Home Heating Oil costs increase over the winter months, based on the demand for heating oil. Since the fall pricing is the lowest, make your change now!

You can easily understand the pricing of your local Heating Oil provider by checking the Heating Oil futures online, which at the time of this article is $1.56, which means that Oil Providers are only seeking an 11% profit margin to pay for their offices, trucks, labor, and insurance. This margin is way too low, showing the fall discounts that are taking place ar likely to change soon. According to NJCA Oil Group, these prices are expected to rise to over $2.03 in the near future.

 

How to get the deepest discounts

Lastly, for the A-type personalities in your neighborhood, if you can create a local buying group, where one or more trucks can deliver throughout your region on the same day, the Oil Heating suppliers save money on the delivery, and they will pass on the savings to your members. You need to get at least 5+ homes involved to get their interest, for the discounts to become reasonable for both parties.

Let the team at Hopatcong Lake Regional News (editor@mylakenews.com) know if you have any further questions.

 

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