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Oil clubs’ buying power yields better price

11 Medi 2013

New research from Citizens Advice demonstrates the buying power of oil clubs, as 97% said they were able to negotiate a lower price with a heating oil supplier because it was for multiple households.

Citizens Advice surveyed 49 oil clubs to establish their engagement with the domestic heating oil market and how suppliers work with oil clubs.

Four in 10 said that all of the suppliers they spoke to were willing to negotiate a lower price and more than half said some, but not all, were willing to settle on a cheaper price.

Seventy per cent of the oil clubs Citizens Advice surveyed said that they ordered from a number of different suppliers in order to get the best price.

One of the challenges for heating oil customers is the large up front cost. Just two of the oil clubs were offered the opportunity to pay by instalments and five were offered the chance to pay by direct debit.

Oil clubs come in all shapes and sizes and the set-up can very much depend on local need. Often clubs were set up as neighbours realised a disparity in how much each of them were paying or a desire to be more environmentally friendly by cutting the number of journeys oil suppliers need to make.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“Households reliant upon heating oil can feel left out in the cold. With the big six energy companies at the helm of heating homes, those who are off grid are often forgotten. New measures to make bills more simple and put people on the cheapest tariffs won’t help heating oil customers with their fuel bills.

“Communities can take matters into their own hands by joining or setting up an oil club. Oil clubs have told us that they're able to drive down costs because suppliers are getting big orders.

“The rising costs of heating your home has compounded the financial squeeze on stretched households. With families struggling to keep on top of their bills, many are looking for ways to cut back or reduce their bills. A challenge made more tricky for those who use heating oil.”

The new findings come as Citizens Advice teams up with ACRE and the FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) for the Buy Oil Early Campaign, which is supported by Energy Minister Michael Fallon.

Top tips for domestic oil consumers

  • Fill up your tank before winter arrives. Suppliers are less busy and can offer better value (fuel tends to be more expensive in December, January and February).
  • Shop around for the best price.
  • If you have difficulty paying for your fuel on delivery, ask your supplier about flexible payment options.
  • Get the best deal by ordering in a way that makes delivery efficient for both you and the oil supplier, for example by joining a local oil club. For details of how to do this or set one up, go to
  • Fuel is a necessity for most people. If you are in financial difficulty, seek early advice by visiting your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for free, independent advice, or visit CAB’s Advice Guide website:

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice surveyed oil clubs between March and August 2013.
  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  4. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  6. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.