CT Watchdog - Paying cash can save on oil bill
The Day, 11/17/2013
Like many other Connecticut families, the Hendersons didn't search around for the best deal on heating oil.
The North Stonington couple preferred to stay with their trusted full-service oil dealer, assuming that there wasn't a lot of difference in oil prices.
They paid more attention to the size of their bills than the per gallon charge.
Doug and Janet Henderson were so comfortable with their heating oil dealer - Mohegan Oil Co. of Mystic - that they have been with the same company ever since they were married, 33 years ago. The family's relationship goes even deeper: Doug's father had previously been with the same company for 20 years.
Each year they entered into a budget plan, which spread out their heating oil payments over the year.
It was only this heating season that the Hendersons discovered that there is a big difference between being on a budget plan and paying for oil with cash when it is delivered.
Janet Henderson made that discovery when she called the company asking about the balance on their account and the going price for oil this season.
For the first time Janet was quoted two prices, one for cash and one for the budget plan.
There was about a 50-cent difference between the two, which over the year could mean hundreds of dollars.
Janet said that when she hung up the phone it dawned on her how much extra they had been paying over the years.
"Does this seem fair to you?" she asked CtWatchdog. "Can they legally charge us like this?"
The answer is yes to both questions.
Richard Fabricant, owner of Mohegan Oil, said it is only recently that he offered a cash price to his customers. Up until this season, he said, only the budget plan was offered.
Fabricant said that for budget customers he charges more because he is extending them credit, giving them months to pay for their purchases.
If you want the best price for heating oil you first need to find out what the going rate is.
The state of Connecticut has an excellent site - www.ct.gov/deep, where it publishes its survey of prices statewide and by different regions.
The latest survey from the first week in November showed that statewide the average price for oil was $3.88. The high was $4.79 and the low was $3.46.
If you can pay cash, check out www.CashHeatingOil.com. It works with dozens of heating oil dealers around the state and claims to offer the best prices for heating oil.