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Heating Oil Theft – Warnings and Advice

This is becoming a well-worn theme here at Find A Fuel Supplier but it’s an important one – heating oil theft is real, it’s happening, and people need to be alert and alive to it. In the last two days, both Dyfed-Powys Police and Essex Police issued warnings about heating oil thefts.

Inspector Alan Millichip of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Given the current high price of fuel it’s highly likely that fuel thefts will increase and we’re continuing to see a spike in this type of crime in the county.

“While, we utilise all resources to catch offenders, it’s vital individuals, businesses and communities do all they can to protect themselves from falling victim.”

So, here are some tips as to how to lessen the threat from fuel thieves:

1. Camouflage or disguise fuel tanks, if possible, so that they are not visible from roads or highways. You can use trellising, or hedging, or large potted plants. Something is better than nothing. In turn, if your tank is sited in a really obvious place – seriously consider re-siting the tank into a less obtrusive position. It’s not necessarily an expensive action.

2. Install security lighting or gravel around the tanks so that you are alerted to any movement around the tank.

3. Work with neighbours and other members of the community to keep an eye out for each other. Neighbourhood Watch Schemes are valuable here. If you go away on a trip, or holiday, specifically ask someone to actively watch out for your property.

4. Ensure that your tank is physically secured. There are specialist locks you can purchase and some insurance companies won’t pay out on an oil theft unless these high quality locks are used. Check with your insurance company what physical security they require.

In turn, there are also alarm systems that can be purchased – some of which can send warning texts/calls/emails if disturbed.

5. Observe and report suspicious vehicles. Especially large unmarked tankers. The old adage ‘better safe than sorry’ makes a lot of sense here. If you report a number plate, the police can look out for a vehicle – it only takes them a couple of minutes to ascertain whether the vehicle is legitimate. Most drivers won’t mind taking a couple of minutes out of their day to answer questions and help bring about a safer community.

6. Check the oil level of your tank regularly. If your oil is stolen, but you think the tank is full – you want to alert the police as soon as possible. In turn, you don’t want a cold house because the boiler won’t fire because the tank is empty.

Heating Oil Futures up on the back of Hurricane Sandy

U.S. heating oil futures slid on Tuesday Oct 30th, after several days of gains where traders built in a risk premium in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. The pre Hurricane Sandy gains were wiped out as several key East Coast refineries and pipelines restored operations and traders bet that the demand for fuel would be suppressed in the short term.

However, on the flip side and looking to the medium term, US heating oil supply is at historically low levels with some pundits are predicting that the low levels of supply will exert upward pressures on heating oil prices, especially as the temperatures drop.

How to get cheap heating oil

How to get cheap heating oil
As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, the attentions of the 1.5 million British heating oil users turn to stocking up for winter. But with prices already reaching record levels this year, sourcing and buying cheap heating oil is becoming a more painful process.

Here, we offer advice on how to get cheap heating oil and ensure that you stay warm this winter without paying over the odds.

Buy your heating oil early

When the weather’s warm, the flowers are out and the kids off school, the last thing on your mind is stocking up on heating oil. However this is possibly the best time of year to buy heating oil. This is due to the age old economic model of supply and demand.

When the demand for heating oil is low, so is its price and vice versa. The demand for heating oil is at its greatest during the cold, winter months and this is when you’ll pay most. Therefore, buying between June and August is historically the best time of year to get the cheapest prices from heating oil suppliers.

Buying during the winter months can also make the delivery of fuel difficult, with order backlogs and weather preventing orders from being fulfilled quickly. Consumer Focus has released some advice for British consumers this year in anticipation of another busy winter for fuel orders and warned that: “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.”

However when buying during the warmer months, it’s important to make sure that your heating oil tank has been serviced first. An efficient heating oil tank will save you money in the long-term so it’s worth any outlay for its maintenance.

Buy heating oil in bulk

In order to get a cheap heating oil prices from suppliers, buying in bulk is likely to be your best bet. The smallest quantity that you can buy from most suppliers is 500 litres, primarily because of the associated costs of delivering the fuel to you. This means that if you’re buying at these levels, you’ll be paying the highest delivery costs.

If you purchase over 1,000 litres in one order you’ll begin saving and bringing that all important price per litre down. When phoning a fuel supplier to book in your order, it’s worth asking them at what level the price begins to drop. If the price drops by one pence between 500 and 2,000 litres, you’ll save yourself £20 on your order.

Compare prices of heating oil

As a commodity, the price of heating oil isn’t fixed and so will vary from supplier to supplier. Heating oil prices change depending on a number of factors, including the cost of a barrel of oil, the weather and of course demand. Therefore, sticking with the company you used last isn’t the smartest way to get cheap heating oil.

Ringing around various suppliers will give you a better idea of the market and enable you to find your cheapest price. However ringing around to find your cheapest heating oil supplier can be a pain, and where do you start? The answer lies in fuel comparison websites.

There are a number of websites that will offer the comparison of various fuels, like heating oil, kerosene and boiler juice and there are a number of subtle differences between them. Some are owned by large fuel suppliers, listing prices from companies that they own. Others earn their money from taking a cut of each sale made from their site. This means that they aren’t truly independent and not necessarily set up with consumers in mind.

However there is one fuel comparison website that is different.

FindAFuelSupplier.co.uk prides itself on its independent listings of fuel suppliers and their prices. It doesn’t take a cut of any sale made and has no links to any fuel supplier, making it the savvy consumers choice when comparing fuel prices.

Signing up Heating Oil Suppliers

Cheapest heating oil suppliersIn today’s post I thought I’d bring you up to speed on what is happening here at Find a Fuel Supplier. As you will have noticed when looking around the site, Find a Fuel Supplier aims to offer something quite different to the fuel buying market.

Instead of taking a commission from fuel suppliers on any sale made, we aim to remain completely independent to the transaction and can therefore offer complete transparency on any deal. Many of the other fuel comparison sites take a cut on any transaction made and we think this blurs the line between acting in the consumer’s best interests and helping suppliers offer the very best deals for buyers out there.

In essence, FAFS is a marketplace where suppliers can post their best prices as often as they like, and where consumers can search for different volumes, of different fuels, in different parts of the country.

So, what stage are we at? FAFS is currently actively engaged in signing up new suppliers to the site. It’s completely free to list your prices here right now. The comparison engine is complete (adding new functionality daily) and we’ll soon be rolling out exciting new stuff!

 

If you are a supplier, or know a supplier who would benefit from being on the site and reaching oodles of customers – please email James@FindaFuelSupplier.co.uk and we’ll get things sorted out pronto!

Protect Your Heating Supplies To Evade a Hefty Fine

Across the UK many heating oil consumers are being warned by their local council that they need to protect their heating oil supply from spilling out into the environment to evade a hefty fine.

In Yorkshire, recently, it was found that a heating oil supplier had delivered fuel to a tank located next a school, soon after the tanker driver left oil was found to be leaking from the outflow pipe of the tank and into the watercourse.

The fuel then dispersed via drains and riffles in the water body, the pollution from this source was visible up to 10 miles away.

An investigation was carried out and it soon became apparent that the tank that was leaking was from the school whom were storing fuel in preparation for the approaching Winter period. The heating oil was going to be used to power the central heating.

As a result on the 21st September 2012 a court hearing took place which saw the Environment Agency (EA) fine East Riding of Yorkshire Council £18000 for polluting the inland fresh waters.

Tracey Thompson, who is an Environmental Office for the agency, stated that she is overwhelmed that this issue has now been addressed as the impact of the spillage could have had a detrimental long term impact on the wildlife relying on the watercourse.

She followed on by stating that this should be an example to businesses and why they should take their environmental responsibilities more seriously.

As a result of the spillage the council is now surveying all of its heating oil storage tanks to make sure they are not leaking or posing any environmental threats.

As well as local councils, it is also important for homeowners who have stocks of heating oil stored away in preparation for winter to be vigilant about spillages on to the surrounding land.

David Hutchinson a spokesman for the agency’s environment management team said it makes complete sense for households to come together and negotiate better heating oil prices but we don’t recommend people ordering more heating oil than they can store in a safe manner.

Author: David Khan

Theft of Heating Oil

It’s not all that often that stories from across the pond reach the desk of Find a Fuel Supplier Towers but this story caught our eye as it could easily happen here.

A man in Long Island, USA, was caught stealing heating oil from the tanks of repossessed / foreclosed homes in the little hamlet of Mastic in Suffolk County.

Robert Bailey had kitted out a truck with what amounted to a siphoning system and was breaking into the tanks of the empty homes and relieving them of their oil. When police officers opened the back of his truck, his mobile tank contained 1200 US Gallons of heating oil (that’s 4,500 litres!)

He was caught when a local town employee got suspicious whilst talking to him outside one of the target properties. The town has filed charges including the illegal transportation of oil and not having the requisite hazmat signs. It’s unclear whether he’ll face theft charges.

We raise this particular case to remind readers to secure their oil tanks as best they can and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. We live in tough economic times and stealing a thousand litres of heating oil is a big prize for criminals although how they would plan to sell their ill-gotten gains is another matter!

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.”

Why Heating Oil is Perfect For Keeping Your Home Warm This Winter

Heating oil is the perfect choice when it comes to keeping your home warm in the colder months, such as  December, when Winter has arsisen up on us. Many families and individuals argue that heating oil is the perfect choice of fuel source as it provides a nice constant steady source of heat that can be easily regulated. Heating oil also provides many other advantages in comparison to other fuel products. The system in which the heating oil is contained can be easily maintained, also if there is a electricity or gas cut in your particular are and you rely on this fuel source to heat your home then the home heating will be cut off. Having an independent supply of fuel such as heating oil stored locally, if there is a cut off in the system you won’t be impacted. For those individuals that purchase heating oil in bulk in the summer months or have a fuel management relationship with a supplier then that can also save them a lot of money.

As well as all the advantages that heating oil provides there are some disadvantages and precautions that need to be taken in to account. As you are in control of the amount of heating oil in your tank it is vital that you don’t let the heating oil levels drop too low. If you are in the situation when you haven’t topped up and your system has run out you may need to call out a emergency fuel supplier which can prove more costly than your normal standard fuel delivery. To avoid this happening a fuel supplier can arrange a management plan whereby on a scheduled period they come around to your property and top up your fuel tank.

It is common for families and individuals to leaving the heating oil burning away in the tank all day in preparation for their return home from work, school or visit. Whilst this seems perfectly normal it’s not very cost effective when the heating is left on for hours on end with no one around. The best way around this is to have either a timer or thermostat fitted so when the temperature drops the heating comes on or you schedule the timer 30 minutes or so just before someone enters the property the heating is triggered. The outcome of all this is the amount of heating oil that is burned throughout the day will be less and the amount of money the home will be saving will be much greater whilst you are still achieving the same heat throughout the house.

Often people in their home have the temperature way above what is recommended as they are trying to heat all the rooms in the house to the same temperature at the same time. Overheating your home can often make people feel washed out, it is also the perfect breeding ground for germs to spread. Lowering the temperature by a few degrees can help save money as well as reduce the breeding ground for germs.

If you are looking for the latest, heating oil prices, kerosene prices or any type of of fuel then Find a Fuel Supplier is is a price comparison website listing real-time fuel prices.

Author: David Khan

Safety with Heating Oil

Heating oil is one of the most popular forms of heating for domestic homes. In Northern Ireland it is the most commonly used fuel and it is also used sporadically around England, Scotland and Wales.

Heating oil is mainly used in boilers and furnaces in households and in the United Kingdom is mixed with red dye which has earned the substance the name “Red Diesel”.

Heating and Diesel fuel are very common in nature and are often referred to as distillates due to their similar boiling points and weights; they are classed as an environmental concern due to being hazardous material. Strict regulations have to be adhered to, to ensure they are transported safely and avoid leaking in transit.

Often when thinking of heating oil it can be common to be reminded of misconceptions of the safety of this substance. Heating oil is in fact one of the cleanest and safest oils for domestic use. Heating oil does not burn in a liquid state and therefore is not easily set on fire as is possible with other substances such as gas. Heating oil only has dangers associated with it when there is a leak. This is common with most substances we use to heat the home.

Fumes are not usually dangerous if you can smell them, however they do usually mean that the system you are using requires maintenance and therefore it is worthwhile to be aware of any changes in the smell of fumes. Fumes that are dangerous in regards to heating oils are the ones we cannot smell. Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous of these fumes and is a by-product of combustion whenever a fuel is burned.  The dangers of carbon monoxide are greatly reduced in a home that uses heating oil rather than gas, however, the risk is still present and therefore a carbon monoxide detector is a cheap and efficient device that should be present in every home.

The chance of a fire from using heating oil is extremely remote with the substance being liquid. The oil would have to reach a temperature of over 140 degrees before turning into a vapour which would then be flammable. This makes it safe to use in the home as the chances of fire related accidents are minimised.

Finding leaks in your boiler system can sometimes be difficult and therefore regular checks each couple of years are necessary to ensure proper maintenance. The most common sign of a leak is usually a large spike in consumption. Often a large bill will alert the homeowner of the problem and in getting the system checked a leak will be discovered. Other possible signs of a leak could be a change in the running of your furnace or boiler, an odour around the tank or perhaps sheen on the tank when touched which could relate to a leak. Often a leak is minor and therefore not very visible and so it is worthwhile checking for any of these signs no matter how small and seeking proper maintenance for the boiler. If a boiler system is located outside then changes in the vegetation surrounding the tank, the vents on the tank and rust should be monitored especially in tanks over 15 years old.

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

Author: David Khan

Current Prices of Heating Oil and the Best Time to Buy?

Over the years many home and business owners around the UK are frequently asking the same two  questions to their local fuel supplier; what are the current prices of heating oil as it stands and when is the best time in the year to buy?

From a suppliers viewpoint there are several answers to this question which can vary between days, months and seasons. Many other external factors can affect or influence the price of oil in between these periods and can cause massive variations in price both locally and nationally. This article will cover the top level factors which can affect the supply and demand of oil which influences the price the consumer pays to heat their business or home throughout the UK.

As mentioned the time of year is a huge factor in fluctuating oil prices. Generally in the winter months the price of oil is at its highest as there is a increased demand across Europe, in comparison to the summer months when there is less demand, which is reflected in the price.

The weather is also another significant factor in fluctuating oil prices. Typically a house hold will require heat for longer periods throughout the day and night when there is a sudden drop in temperature or severe weather conditions prevail.  As a result the price of heating oil will increase as there is a high demand for the product and the amount of heating oil fuel required will be much more substantial. Also the logistics for heating oil suppliers can be significantly impacted as the extreme weather can increase the costs of distribution.

The supply of heating oil on a global scale can hugely impact the amount the consumer pays. When there is  an overall shortage or decreased production of heating oil depleting the reserves and the demands continue to increase, the price of heating oil throughout the UK will continue to increase.

The supply and demand can vary both on a national level as well as a local level. National heating oil prices as discussed, if factors such as weather influence can cause the prices to elevate. On a local level it works slightly different, typically the price often varies between local suppliers and the vicinity of each other, for example a number of local fuel suppliers concentrated in an area can greatly affect heating oil prices. Also, locally some companies buy and store huge quantities of stock, therefore they have the luxury of providing you with competitive fuel prices and they have the option to sign you up to a fuel management plan avoiding any fluctuation in heating oil prices.

Haulage costs also determines the price that you as a business or home owner pay for your heating oil. Any fuel oil distributor that is positioned in close proximity to fuel refineries or fuel storage facilities should be able to offer low costs. It’s common to see that rural areas pay more for their heating oil in comparison to towns and cities as fuel oil suppliers are often going out of their way to deliver.

The amount of heating oil a business or residential premises orders is a huge factor that influences the price/ pence per litre you will pay. The more fuel that you require to be delivered the less the price you will pay on your delivery.

To support heating oil users across the UK, finding the best prices is often difficult, therefore it is recommended to use heating oil comparison sites such as Find A Fuel Supplier, MoneySuperMarket and Confused who independently compare heating oil prices both locally and nationally across a range of suppliers.

Hopefully this article will help you compile an average price trend of heating oil and hopefully will assist you in determining the right time to buy your fuel from your local or national supplier at the best prices available.

Find a Fuel Supplier compares the latest heating oil prices, kerosene prices across the UK enabling UK buyers to purchase heating oil, and the best way for suppliers to reach out and sell heating oil to customers.

Author: David Khan