Oil clubs could help Wealden residents save on heating bills

OIL CLUBS are a way people can band together and use their buying power to save money on heating bills.

Wealden Citizens Advice chief executive Caroline Mack explained members can save 10% on fuel by clubbing together and ordering oil through a syndicate. She explained this is good news for all, particularly people living in rural areas, as it means the number of tanker journeys that have to be made through their villages are reduced. And she points out this is not only better for the environment, it also reduces the wear and tear on village roads.

To set up an oil club all that’s needed is about 20 people and a co-ordinator who can approach oil companies and ask what discounts they can offer a club. Once a group is formed, it’s easy to organise future deliveries and keep in touch by e-mail or through notices displayed in your village shops or post office.

Caroline Mack said: “Many people have come to us with problems affording their energy bills in the last year and we’re worried even more people will need help this winter. Joining an oil club is one way of trying to reduce fuel costs and I would urge anyone who relies on heating oil to get together with others in their community to set up or join an existing oil club.”

Wealden Citizens Advice has recently been successful in obtaining some funding from Scottish Power Energy People Trust to appoint a dedicated fuel poverty worker, who identifies and supports families and older people in the Wealden area who are in fuel poverty.

The bureau is urging people to get in touch with them or their energy supplier as soon as they realise they are falling behind with their bills. Debts will grow and be harder to pay off the longer they are left but anyone who falls behind with their bill doesn’t need to cope alone. CAB advisers are just a phone call or visit away and can also make sure no-one is missing out on any benefits and tax credits that they are entitled to.

Anyone experiencing difficulties meeting fuel bills should contact Carol Clark on: 01825 764940. To set up or join an oil club download a guide from: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/campaigns/oilclubs/oilclubs-info.htm