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Peat Harvest and Impact on Supply

Last month, Bord na Món, the semi-state company responsible for the harvesting of peat in Ireland reported that the country was witness to the worst peat harvest returns in 65 years. The reason? The 2.5 times average rainfall between July and August that contributed to a loss of 2.5million tonnes of peat, and a harvest of just 37% of what was expected.

The harvest (or lack thereof) is not expected to significantly impact upon the price of peat briquettes, as stock levels are high, and customer demand is expected to be met. In a statement, the company wrote that: “notwithstanding the difficulties presented by the weather, Bord na Móna is in a position to confirm it has taken steps to ensure it has adequate stocks of peat to supply its customers”.

Consumer Watchdog advises consumers to buy Heating Oil early.

The UK consumer group “Consumer Focus” has recently advised how leaving heating oil orders to the last minute during the winter risked longer delivery times and higher prices.

It was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: “In the severe weather experienced in November and December 2010 many of the oil distribution companies saw significant increases in orders, resulting in delivery backlogs, particularly in remote and rural areas where roads were disrupted by snow and ice.”

William Baker, the head of fuel poverty at Consumer Focus, went on to add: “People living off the mains gas network often face considerable difficulty in keeping their homes warm. In recent years we have seen big spikes in the cost of heating oil during the winter months, which can have a major effect on household budgets.

“With this in mind, our message is buy oil as early as possible, and get a better deal by bulk buying with neighbours if possible. Consumers should also look to cut bills by making their home as energy-efficient as they can and ensure they are claiming all of the benefits and grants they may be entitled to.”

EU policy changes to hit Biodiesel production

biofuels

Connie Hedegaard, the EU Climate Commissioner, has dealt a blow to the European biodiesel industry by introducing policy changes that will limit the production of food-based biofuels to 5%.

The EU has a target of delivering 10% of its transport fuels in a renewable form and while biofuel was regarded as the ideal solution, question were raised about the levels of carbon emissions its production created. Fears of escalating food prices were also raised by green campaigners and these appear to have struck a chord with Hedegaard.

Talking to the Guardian, Hedegaard said: “We cannot morally afford to build a very big industry on something that is not good for the environment or for food prices. One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is ensuring affordable food prices.”

The biofuel cap will be regarded as a serious setback for the €10b industry, with companies claiming thousands of jobs will be lost.

Derived from vegetable oil or animal fat, biodiesel is regarded as an important fuel in the industry because it’s renewable and creates fewer emissions than standard diesel. However this announcement is likely to cause a rise in biodiesel prices throughout Europe including the UK.

Therefore comparing biodiesel suppliers to find the cheapest price is going to become a more established practice. Using a website like Findafuelsupplier.co.uk to source the cheapest price of biodiesel and other fuels is therefore recommended in order to save money.

 

Oil Price Falls to Less Than $92

Amid a bleak economic backdrop, the decrease in the price of oil to under $92 a barrel today can be attributed to the slowdown of global growth and the fall in demand for crude oil.  In Europe, the price of benchmark crude was $91.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.  Brent Crude was priced at $110.02 on the IntercontinentalExchange Futures in London. When the global economy slumps, the demand for fuel also falls which leads to the price of oil decreasing. However, if the cost of energy falls, it can help to stimulate economic growth in the long term.

Furthermore, as crude oil is traded internationally, a strong US dollar can make the commodity an expensive and unattractive investment for those using foreign currencies. In addition to this, the Euro was $1.2920 on Monday, which is lower than $1.2974 from the previous Friday.

To add to the pressures of weakening global growth, the US Labor Department announced that the rate of unemployment, an indicator of economic growth, actually increased in over half of the states of America during the past month. This highlights the fact that hiring across the biggest economy in the world continues to be a problem.  Moreover, the World Trade Organisation has slashed estimates on their predictions for trade growth in the global economy for 2012 and 2013 which will result in a fall in demand for fuel such as crude oil. As a result, the price falls to reflect market conditions to generate demand.

If you are looking to find the most up-to-date independent prices of fuel oils in the UK then Find a Fuel Supplier can help fuel suppliers display the latest heating oil prices and kerosene prices to the consumer market.

Be Aware of Heating Oil Scams on the Internet

There have been several recent stories about people being tricked into paying for heating oil online, only to then not receive the orders they have placed. Although the websites where people purchased heating oil from seemed legitimate, they were in fact not a genuine website that was set up for trading purposes.

Heating oil prices tend to fluctuate for several reasons. As a commodity product, heating oil is subject to supply and demand in the market, which affects the price. In addition to this, as heating oil is sold in a competitive marketplace where there are many suppliers, prices will change due to competition.  For example, when there are many suppliers in the market, prices will fall as suppliers will compete with their rivals to generate demand. Furthermore, heating oil is considered to be a seasonal product as it will be mainly used in colder months during winter. Therefore, heating oil prices will increase in winter to take advantage of the higher level of demand as people will be buying this product to warm up their homes.

As a result, price conscious consumers will shop around to get the best heating oil prices on offer to save money on fuel and will do so by buying in bulk to benefit from bigger savings. The best time to do this is usually during summer when price is low as there isn’t much demand to use heating oil with the warmer weather. The internet has made it easier for people to compare prices of products across many businesses, as people can find out information quickly online at the click of a button. This is how a number of people have been duped into paying for heating oil from websites that have no intention of fulfilling orders. They believed that they were getting a good deal with the heating oil prices, so they placed an order to save money.

People will look for heating oil prices on the internet before purchasing the fuel over the internet from questionable websites. Generally, these companies will request payment via a bank transfer first or they will ask you to pay over the counter at a bank. As customers wait for the fuel to be delivered, they realise that they will not receive it because they are unable to get in touch with the suppliers to find out exactly when the heating oil will be distributed. These websites don’t give their contact numbers for people to call if they face a problem and they ignore emails that are sent to them. These customers have tried to contact a number of organisations to get the matter resolved, from the police to the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers to the Action Fraud department but with little result so far.

These heating oil scams are a growing problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible by the relevant authorities. Be careful when looking at heating oil prices online and make sure that the website is genuine by doing some research to see if there have been complaints made against that particular company in the past. Try to find out if they are a reputable and trustworthy business before buying heating oil. If you are concerned about an order you have made online for heating oil, then contact the National Fraud Authority to log your complaint and they will investigate the issue and help the police to take action.

Find a Fuel Supplier is a price comparison website listing real-time fuel prices for consumers such as heating oil prices and kerosene prices. We are 100% independent of fuel retailers and oil companies and we take no commission on any sale made.

Author: David Khan

Fuel Price Comparison Websites are Reprimanded by the Office of Fair Trading

A couple of websites that compared heating oil prices across what appeared to be from several different suppliers have been admonished by the Office of Fair Trading, an organisation that regulates competition in a given market and enforces consumer protection laws.

The FuelFighter(dot)co.uk website only quoted prices for fuel supplied by WCF Fuels Limited, despite the fact that the website looked like a neutral price comparison site. Furthermore, the website was actually run by WCF Fuels Limited, which is misleading for visitors to the site as they would have believed that they were receiving independent information on heating oil prices across the market, when in fact this was not the case at all.  Also, testimonials on the website could not be verified which means that the recommendations could be biased.

BoilerJuice(dot)co.uk website was also positioned as a price comparison site for fuel, but it heavily promoted GB Oils Ltd, which also happens to be the biggest heating oil supplier in the UK. However, the website failed to disclose a connection with DCC Plc, their parent company that also owns GB Oils Ltd.

The CheapHeatingOil(dot)co.uk website was also found to be in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This is because the website could be misconstrued as a price comparison site and mislead people about the purpose of the website due to the style and content.

The problem with these websites supposedly comparing heating oil prices was that they listed their own heating oil suppliers, without explicitly expressing that they were promoting their own interests.  This is not giving consumers the information they need to make informed decisions about where to buy their fuel from. In essence, the content on these websites were deceptive and used purely to refer visitors to suppliers that would benefit their business.

The Office of Fair Trading were made aware of these practices by consumers as well as their own investigations into their off grid energy market study. Their conclusions stated that the websites in question claimed that they were getting the best prices on heating oil, without saying clearly if a price comparison was made at all. Moreover, the Office of Fair Trading were concerned that the number of prices being compared was not declared and that there was no indication of whether there was a link between the supplier giving the quotation and the price comparison website.

The findings from the Office of Fair Trading regarding the operations of comparison websites of fuel prices resulted in the above businesses making changes to their websites to show any connections they have with any fuel supplier that provides quotes and to announce any material information relating to the ownership of the website if it is relevant and applicable. This will allow consumers to make their fuel purchasing decisions (such as looking at heating oil prices) on the premise that they can easily compare the deals on offer online and to be aware of any close links between the website and the suppliers if there are any. In addition to this, the CheapHeatingOil(dot)co.uk website made it clear that it was not a price comparison site and they also put their ownership details prominently on the home page.

All of the businesses mentioned in this article changed their information on the website voluntarily to rectify the issues discovered by the Office of Fair Trading.

Author: David Khan

Two Tragic Deaths, Brindisi Breeze and Campbell Gillies Rock The Equestrian World

At the beginning of May the champion horse Brindisi Breeze died in a tragic accident and then a little over a month later his jockey Campbell Gillies passed away in an equally heartbreaking incident. These were two hugely promising stars of the future that recently hit the headlines securing their biggest wins of their horseracing careers in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

In the early hours of May 8th 2012, Brindisi Breeze escaped trainer Lucinda Russell’s yard before bolting across a road where he collided with a heating oil tanker and was killed instantly. Brindisi Breeze went to Cheltenham as the 7-1 second-favourite and got the better of his 19 rivals giving Scotland a taste of rare Cheltenham success; their first in ten years. Campbell Gillies, upon hearing the news about the death of Brindisi Breeze, took to the social media site Twitter declaring that he was “absolutely devastated”.
It’s heartbreaking that neither Brindisi Breeze or Campbell Gillies will be able to repeat their famous victory at next year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on Gold Cup Day, a win that sent the stable of Lucinda Russell wild with joy.

Campbell Gillies passed away shortly after arriving on the Greek holiday Island of Corfu on the Jun 26, 2012 the day before he turned 22. The full detail of this tragedy remains unclear, however the focus centres on the hotel swimming pool, which is now under investigation. Campbell Gillies’ agent, Paul Brierley, released a suitably vague statement which simply said: ‘At the present time, all I can say is there has been an accident.’

Campbell Gillies, who had more than 50 winners for Lucinda Russell, had a successful campaign in 2011-12 with 38 winners and winning a total of 131 races in Britain. He will be sadly missed in the racing community along with Brindisi Breeze and will remain forever in the memories of horse racing fans around the world.

Author: David Khan