We recently went through the experience of changing our home heating oil delivery service after 17 years with the same provider – it was an eye opening experience. As a consequence of this change we’ve come to the realization that we need to perform an annual review on all our service providers to ensure we are getting full value for the price paid on services provided. In this particular case performing an annual performance review would have saved us over $1800 in heating costs over the last 10 years.
There are a number of online resources available to help evaluate where your provider stands in terms of pricing, but the one I liked the most was Mass Energy Consumers Alliance historical pricing page. We were able to pull point pricing for any given week from this page for dates going back to July of 2005 and combine this with our purchase history as extracted from our financial files to build an analysis workbook Seasonal_Usage_and_Pricing_xlsx
In reviewing the average pricing versus the pricing we received from our oil supplier, we realized we were paying well above the average price for heating oil. On further investigation we found Massachusetts publishes a heating oil price range online – and our supplier had pricing correlating to the MOST expensive oil in the state. So we switched over to Devaney Energy, which has better pricing than the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance listed above and we now have some of the lowest priced oil in Massachusetts.
The analysis also provides some other pretty useful trending data over the years. When we purchased the house we were consuming about 740 gallons of oil per year and we completed our 2013 heating season with consumption of only 362 gallons – less than half the oil we were consuming on initial purchase for a annual savings of $1600! Of course, the replacement windows in 1999 with the insulated siding improved efficiency by maybe 5-10%, but re-insulating the lower attic in 2006 made the biggest difference reducing consumption by about 25-30% while insulating the upper attic and walls in 2009 and closing the air gaps in 2012 seems to have reduced the remainder of our losses. Clearly the greatest return on investment was the insulation which cost us maybe $3500 in total.