As we leave behind some of the hottest New England record temperatures, with some reaching over the 100 degree mark, we begin thinking about another heating season, starting with the question that I hear almost on a daily basis. What will the price of oil be this year? If you’re expecting an answer from me, as I have said in the past, if I had the answer, I would probably be living in the BIG HOUSE in D.C. or possibly become the next Bill Gates.
It seems that many oil dealers are still in a quandary about what to set their customers’ budgets at this year for that famous gold impregnated product called heating oil. After all who wants that angry call at the end of the heating season from a customer screaming, “Why do I owe money when I was on a budget?”
I know that many of you are still undecided on just what to cap your oil at, so to satisfy my own curiosity, I recently spoke with a friendly customer service representative from an oil company in northern New England. I asked about their prices for this year and was politely told that they offered two programs. One was the Variable Price Plan, which was rack plus 65 cents, and you had to call for the price that would be determined on the day of the delivery.
The other plan offered was called the Capped Price Program. This plan was again based on cap rack cost plus 65 cents also, but you had to select the gallonage you projected for the year. Once you selected the cap gallonage, you also had to include 25 cents for each of the projected gallonage.
My projection example—1,200 gallons X 25 cents per gallon would equal $300. When I asked where the $300 dollars went, she stated that it went to the hedge fund. Is that like a slush fund? I also asked for the price of a service contract and she said $289 for the basic service that covers 24/7 and a variety of basic parts. It seems that many dealers are still projecting the ever so famous $4.00 per gallon price.
I’m also learning that many of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs will be cut nearly in half, based on President Obama’s proposal to chop the energy assistance programs. Some of the state cuts are as follows: Connecticut’s allocation would be cut from $98 million to $41 million, Massachusetts would be from $175 million to $81 million and Rhode Island would be from $34 million to $15.4 million. The projection here in the New England region is that the average cost of heating an average home will be in the area of $2,983, which is an increase of approximately $650 more.
So what is the answer for lowering fuel cost? It certainly isn’t coming from the White House and members of Congress. It’s coming from your own reliable oil company that can still update your heating equipment that is Energy Star rated and will reduce your oil consumption often as much as 25 to 30 percent. They also deal in facts not guesses when it comes to equipment costs and fuel savings.
Keep and eye out also for the new indoor/outdoor temperature control options that can make a saving contribution. As my saying goes, “Every gallon saved is money in the pocket.”