The Hopatcong Lake Regional team is conducting a survey with local Oil companies across our region to provide you a matrix of prices and benefits. Until we complete that article, here are some tips on heating your home with oil, without going broke.
1. Comparison Shop
Just because you had the cheapest provider last year, doesn't mean you have the cheapest provider this year. Call around to compare oil prices; and if you find a better deal, go after it. Not sure whom to call? Look up "heating oil supplier" on the Internet for a list of companies in your area. (NOTE: We will be proving you this listing by October 28th.)
Tip: Before you switch companies, give your current provider a chance to match their competitor's price. If they're willing to deal, it'll mean less work for you.
2. Fill Up Off Season (Now)
Oil prices tend to go up with demand, so have your tank filled in the summer, or even this late in the fall as the fuel prices rise upon demand, which is normally November to March.
3. Join a Co-op
Fork over $25-$30 for a membership to a fuel co-op to gain access to discounted oil rates, and you could shave as much as 20% off of your heating costs. How's that for a return on your investment?
For example Pilgrim Oil Group (Watch for our review due October 28th)
4. Snag Every Discount that you’re Eligible For
Call customer service, and ask them to run through all available discounts with you. If you hear anything that you qualify for (and aren't getting), work with them to get it set up.
- Discounts to Ask About: special rates for large tanks/fills and senior citizens
5. Choose the Best Pricing Option for You
Heating oil prices are constantly on the move. Choose a pricing plan that makes the most of those movements, and you could save big. Here's an overview of your pricing options:
- Market Price- You pay whatever the going rate is on the day of delivery. There's no contract, and you have to schedule deliveries when you need them. A good option, if you only want to fill up when prices are low
- Fixed Price- You lock in a price for the year. It doesn't go up or down – even if the current rate moves up or down. A good option, if you think increases are likely or you want to limit budget surprises
- Capped Price- You're protected from large increases (rates can't go past a certain level), and your prices can still go down, if the current price drop. A good option, if you think a price drop is likely
6. Avoid Extra Fees
Don't let a bunch of hidden fees gobbles up all your discounts. Each time you call to schedule a delivery, ask for a breakdown of your bill. If anything sounds excessive or unnecessary, question it.
Some Fees to Look Out For: delivery charges, fuel surcharges and premiums charged for deliveries made after hours, on weekends or during bad weather
Once again as outlined in this article watch for the Hopatcong Lake Regional News analysis due on October 28th that will provide a matrix of vendors in our lake region, their costs, and a review of the Co-Ops in our area.