Older people are even more prone to fuel poverty if they are dependent on heating oil or LPG, as prices are well above those of gas. Prices also vary considerably during the year (peaking in winter) and there is often a price premium for smaller orders.
Now Tony Watts, who many of you will know as chair of the South West Forum on Ageing, has set up www.seniorbuyingpower.co.uk – and is trying to harness the buying power of seniors nationally to negotiate the very best rates.
Deliveries will be organised through Community Buying unLimited, the UK’s biggest provider of oil to community groups, who already achieve savings of between 8 and 15% for their customers. Typically this can mean anything from £160 to £300 savings a year for a three-bedroom house using 2000 litres a year.
This is an extension to the idea of forming your own local group. Ideally, someone would collect names of those in their community who might be interested in taking part. From there, SeniorBuyingPower will handle the administration and negotiations in return for an annual membership, which is paid at the time of the first order.
As well as negotiating a £6 discount on annual membership for over 60s (from £24 to £18), SeniorBuyingPower has also introduced the idea of individuals being able to apply – so their order can be added on to a local delivery.
The power of grouping orders together can result in larger savings, so while the main aim is to help older people, they would also be pleased to supply non-seniors to buy, as well as care homes, local businesses and community buildings.
Although it will be driven through a website, there is also a helpline, so you don’t need to be on the Internet to benefit.
The website again is www.SeniorbuyingPower.co.uk