Information on Heating Oil Buying Networks.
Hundreds of thousands of homeowners across states in the northern part of the country, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and New York, are able to join heating oil buying networks, groups or cooperatives These individuals are saving significantly on their home heating bills as well as oil expenses.
While the specifics will vary by program and network, on average homeowners will save anywhere from 10¢ to 30¢ per gallon on their heating oil. Some of the companies will also offer other discounts as well, such as when it comes to repairing your furnace, how water heater or other equipment. Below you will learn how heating oil buying networks work and how they can provide you with significant savings.
Heating oil negotiations and volume
These groups work by using the purchasing power of tens of thousands of member households across numerous counties and even entire states. As homeowners sign up for the heating oil buying networks, they receive the benefit of increased volume discounts with dealers. The cooperatives use bulk buying power of members to negotiate a better price.
But the homeowner does not need to negotiate the price themselves. The buying network will do this and they will negotiate significant discounts on home heating oil for their members. The easiest way to think about it may be that these networks are like a wholesale buying club for people across the nation who use heating oil to heat their homes or apartments. They have a similar business model to group buying clubs such as Costco or Sam’s Club in that these networks are able to buy a large quantity oil at reduced rates and then pass these savings on to their customers.
The heating oil dealers benefit as well and strongly support the networks. The reason being is that in exchange for a large volume of guaranteed, recurring business from the customers, these dealers are able to significantly reduce their normal profit margins as they do not need to worry about, or incur the expense, of selling to one customer at a time.
Who supplies the heating oil?
The organizations will enter into agreements with various dealers across their service areas. While the exact terms of each program and buying network will vary, in most cases you will have access to a highly qualified, full-service heating oil dealer / supplier. They will usually offer numerous services to customers including such benefits as 30-day net payment terms, emergency service, budget billing, available service contracts at reasonable rates, system repairs at reduced costs, and more.
When you join a certain group, your OBN (Oil Buying Network) representative will help you determine which company in the network is best suited for your needs. The customer is not locked in either. They can switch to different providers in future years.
Other benefits of the heating oil buying networks
In addition to your oil savings, you will also receive a free comprehensive service contract that includes extensive parts and labor coverage for your heating system. It may provide the family with 24-hour emergency service and a free annual cleaning or even tune-up of your heating system. While not quite as common, some companies will also be able to repair your furnace or system and offer discounts for that service as well. Members receive an extensive array of benefits from these groups.
Quality of service provided
It is usually higher when you join these groups. Heating oil networks and cooperatives usually have their customers sign up year after year, and have renewal rates in the mid to high 90% range. This means that most people feel that they benefit from the high quality of service and savings, and they renew their contacts and sign up every year.
Not only do customers save a significant amount of money during the fall, winter, or spring, but most members of the heating oil buying groups report that their quality of service is higher after signing up for the group than it was with their previous supplier. They receive benefits that they would not normally get when they bought their oil on their own.
Cost to join heating oil buying groups
While of course the prices will vary based upon where you live and the terms of your deal, on average it can cost as little as $20-$40 per year to sign up for one of these heating oil buying networks. But the amount you save on your heating oil, and other benefits such as improved customer service, reduced prices on heating equipment replacement and repairs, and other discounts more than offset the initial fee. The initial fee can be very reasonable when considering the other benefits that members receive.
Some cooperatives may also offer additional savings to low income families, senior citizens, or the disabled. If this is available, it will normally be offered on the initial enrollment fee. When contacting a network, be sure to ask if there are any other discounts available.
If you do not think you can afford the cost, you can check to see if your are eligible for a program that offers free heating oil. Some non-profits or private companies provide this form of assistance. Locate more information on free heating oil..
Companies that offer discounts and how to sign up
There are numerous home heating oil buying groups and networks. There are companies in Michigan, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, and throughout the nation. Some of the bigger organizations include Oil Buying Network and HEAT USA. Be sure to review the terms of each of these organizations to determine which may benefit you the most.
Regional and National Co-Operatives - These provide assistance in all states.
Heat USA is a national heating oil cooperative. Repairs, oil, tune ups, and more is available. Call 1-888-432-8872
Pilgrim Oil Group - Offers discounts on heating oil. 800-774-0062
Co-op Power - New England sustainable energy cooperative. Phone - (877) 266-7543.
Citizen's Oil Co-op - Can offer both bioheat and oil. Dial (860) 561-6011.
Pilgrim Oil Group
The Fuel Club - Heating oil discounts are offered across the northeast and all of New England. Call (603) 477-1940
Our Town Energy Alliance - Call the cooperate at (603) 435-3077.
Cape & Islands Self-Reliance Corporation - Call 508.563.6633
Citizen's Oil Co-op - This oil network covers southern Massachusetts. Call (860) 561-6011
Co-op Power - Dial (877) 266-7543 for information on pricing for fuel oil, repairs, and other support.
Mass Energy - Heating oil, tune ups, and other discounts. Households may save a few hundred dollars per year on their heating oil. 1-800-287-3950.
Pioneer Valley Oil Cooperative - Sells fuel oil.
The Fuel Club also serves Massachusetts and Boston. (603) 477-1940
Farmers Cooperative of Hanska. 1-800-382-2667
Northern Star Coop - The heating oil group can be reached at 800-864-3767
LS Fuel Co-Op - Will have oil, propane, gas, and more.
North Country Fuel Association is another cooperative that has both heating oil and propane for customers.
Our Town Energy Alliance - Dial (603) 435-3077
The non-profit New Jersey Citizen Action Oil Group can help families save 10 to 20% on their heating bills. Call 1-800-464-8465.
Pilgrim Oil of NJ - Call 800-774-0062
Citizen Action Fuel Group - Kerosene and heating oil. Phone 1.800.559.4645.
Consumers Energy Cooperative, Inc . - The main number is 914.941.2288
Energy Cooperative of New York - May offer consumers with natural gas and electricity.
Galway Co-Op - Propane assistance and discounts. (518) 882-5445
NYPIRG Fuel Buyers Group - New York families can receive fuel oil and natural gas discounts.
Washingtonville Fuel Corporation
Central Ohio Farmers Coop - Dial (800) 258-2213
Heritage Cooperative - A heating oil buying network for Ohio region. Call 800-424-2584 for their rates.
The Energy Cooperative - Operates across the state. Customers can receive heating oil, bioheat, propane, and also renewable electricity. Telephone - 215.413.2122.
Energy Cooperative of America. (716) 580-3506
The National Cooperates cover RI. See their numbers above.
People's Power and Light. Dial 1-800-287-3950 for rates on their heating oil rates and how the network operates.
Energy Co-Op of Vermont - Heating oil, propane, and kerosene is available. Dial (802) 860-4090.
North Eastern Vermont Fuel Cooperative is leading network in the state.
Our Town Energy Alliance - Call (603) 435-3077
Federation Cooperative - Dial 715-284-5354 to reach the main office.
New Horizons Supply Cooperative - The network has propane for winter heating costs, oil and more. Call 1-800-321-2128.