Utility Bill Assistance



How to save on or get assistance for heating oil from supplies.

There are several ways to save money on heating oil. Find the pros and cons to the various services offered by companies below. These are of course in addition to any form of emergency financial aid, which can also be used to pay for oil. These programs are most effective for families that live in cold-weather states, such as the northeast.

Budget Heating Plans

Payments are made by the consumer to the heating oil company. Payments for heating oil is based on a calculated gross usage volume of oil used based on the customers history, and this is what determines the amount of the monthly payment plan. Normally it runs covers an 11 month period. Some heating oil companies offer it over a full 12 month period. This is good for the oil company since it spreads out their cash flow over many months.

PRO: It is a good plan for the homeowner since it also spreads out their bills and payments over the year so they are not hit with large heating bills and payments 2 or 3 times a year. The monthly payment is “stable”

CON: If the oil company vendor is not in good financial health, then the company can spend that money and when the home heating season comes around, they do not have the funds to provide the service in question. So then the company can't buy the heating oil and the home owner is both out the cash and out the oil. Sadly, this has become a bigger problem around the country.





Automatic Heating Oil Delivery

The heating oil company will schedule the delivery’s automatically to top off the homeowners oil tank. The oil company prefers this plan since they are assured a solid customer on an ongoing basis. It keeps the providers business more stable.

Heating oil company's base these home deliveries on what they call degree days. Their computers will calculate your usage and then anticipate when you will need an oil fill up and bill you accordingly. This will allows them to better schedule their time. However, this is not an exact science and unless the home heating oil company is on top of it, there is always a small chance they can cause you to run out of fuel.

PRO: If the heating oil is delivered timely, you get a fresh replacement of oil delivered to your tank. It makes the process more timely. The benefits of this are that heating oil will go bad over a period of time and fresh fuel is better then old cold oil.

CON: If the vendor you select is not organized and detailed they could potentially miss your fill up and you could run out of fuel. If you do, sometimes this may happen on the coldest day of the season and since your behind on your oil... chances are your not the only one. If and when this happens, plan on being cold until they show.

Full Service heating Oil Customers

These companies don't just deliver heating oil. They have a full time staff that are on call 24-7 to provide their customers with assistance and help in any form needed. If something goes wrong with your heating system the good companies are at your house in under two hours to assist you.





PRO : You will be dealing with a professionally run, customer focused, service oriented company that has your best interest at heart. The will focus on assisting their customers, top notch customer service, and the good ones will do whatever it takes to help with heating oil and bills. Another side benefit, more progressive companies may even use an additive in their fuel that will help your system run more efficiently and also reduce the chance of system failure. By using these additives, system failures and problem calls can be reduced by 30% and more.

CON: The top service and the quality of fuel that you will be getting from a full service company will increases their costs, and therefore they will need to bill you more money for your heating oil and bills. The old cliché of you get what you pay for is true here.

Government assistance

Some heating oil companies will help lower income customers apply for government assistance programs. They have a staff on call that provides information, tips on applying, and maybe even applications. The reason they do this is of course if the customer can pay their utility or heating bills, then they may buy more oil. So the company is both helping the customer and themselves. The main resource lout there is LIHEAP.


By: Jon McNamara



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