Many of our least well off households have been able to buy energy supplies this winter at discount prices thanks to the rapid expansion of oil buying clubs.
There are now 27 such clubs in Northern Ireland with over 1,700 members.
Since last May they have enabled 1,200 homes to acquire a total of 600,000 litres of oil, much of it at below market prices.
The households which benefit most are those requiring low level quantities of oil - typically two or three hundred litres a time. Left to the market, these buyers would have to pay relative high prices because of the extra cost suppliers face from making small deliveries. Through the oil buying clubs, however, very keen deals can be done.
Last month club members buying 300 litres paid an average of £85.20. In very recent days a club in Castlederg was able to secure a price of £73.80 for its members for the same amount of oil. That’s 24.6 pence per litre.
The latest figures supplied by the Consumer Council (published on December 10) show that the cheapest price for 300 litres in Northern Ireland was £90. The average was £106.32 and the most expensive was £127.67.
Across Northern Ireland twelve oil suppliers are now participating in the scheme which is overseen by Bryson Energy and supported by the Housing Executive.
Last updated on 11/05/2016