Heating Oil Plans and Prices
There are many different types of home heating oil plans to choose from, and these plans will help determine the price you pay for your home heating oil.
Budget Heating Oil Plans
Payments for heating oil that are made by the consumer to the heating oil company is calculated based upon a average of heating oil used based on the customers history. Normally the plans run over an 11 month period. Some oil companies will offer this plan over a full 12 months. This type of plan is good for the oil company since it spreads out their cash flow over the course of the year
Pros of this plan for the consumer: It is a good plan for the home owner since it will spread out the heating prices and bills they need to pay over the entire year so the consumer does not have a big payment 2 or 3 times a year.
Cons of this plan for the consumer: If the oil company the consumer selects is not in good financial health, the heating oil company can spend that money. And then when the heating oil season comes around, the company does not have the money. They therefore can't buy oil, and then the home owner is both out the cash they paid for their bills, and they are out the oil. This has become a growing problem in some parts of the country.
This is the term that is used by the home heating oil companies for consumers that call in every time when they want a fuel delivery. This type of customer is usually the lowest on the totem pole from the oil companies perspective. They figure some who is a will call, that consumer will call around for the best heating oil price and that customer has no loyalty to any company, or maybe the customer has no money to cover their heating bills.
Pros of this plan for the consumer: You can shop around to different customers and if the oil market is cooperating, you can decide who to buy your oil from and what to pay for your heating oil. However, this can hurt or help you depending on the prices and “swing” in the oil price market.
Cons of this plan for the consumer: You never have a chance to establish a relationship with an oil company. Like other businesses, if the business knows you, or if you are a long time customer for them, they typically treat you better, help you more, respond to you faster, and will also work to ensure you are happy to help keep you a satisfied customer.
Automatic Heating Oil Delivery
The heating oil company will automatically schedule delivery's' to fill up the homeowners heating oil tank. The oil company likes this type of plan since the company is assured of a solid, on going customer relationship. The company's base these home deliveries on what they call degree days. Their systems and computers will calculate your personal oil usage and anticipate when you'll need a fill up. This allow the heating oil company to better schedule their time. One item to be aware of is that this is not an exact science, and unless the oil company is on top of their system and schedules, they can cause you to run out of heating oil.
Pros of this plan for the consumer: If your heating oil is delivered timely, you will receive a fresh replacement of oil delivered to your tank on a regular basis. It is important to note that heating oil will go bad over an extended period of time and fresh, warm oil is better then old, cold oil.
Cons of this plan for the consumer: If the heating oil company you select isn't detailed and organized they could miss your scheduled fill up and you could run out of oil. If you do run it, it'll usually be on one of the coldest days of the season and since your behind on your scheduled fill ups, the chances are that you are not the only one. If that's the case, you should plan on being cold until the company shows up to fill your tank.
Full Service Heating Oil Companies
These companies don't just deliver your heating oil and fuel. They also maintain a full time staff of well trained individuals that are on call 24-7 to service all their customers needs. So if something does go wrong with your heating system, the good companies are at your home very quickly to help you, usually within 2 hours or less.
Pros of this plan for the consumer: You are dealing with a customer focused, professionally run, customer service oriented company that will have your best interest at heart. These companies focus on provided high levels of customer service and the good ones will do whatever it takes to satisfy their customers needs. You may also use a more progressive company that can use an additive in their heating fuel that will help your heating system run more efficiently and also reduce the chance of system failure. Additives can reduce failures and problem calls by over 30%.
Cons of this plan for the consumer: The high level of service and the quality of fuel that you will be getting from a full service company will obviously increase their cost and the prices you are paying, and in order for them to stay in business, they need to bill you more money. So you get what you pay for, in the form of better fuel, better service, but higher heating bills.