Heating Oil Prices Vary Depending on Contract Type

If the autumn leaves remind you to get a home heating oil contract, it won't be enough to call several companies to compare prices because there are different prices for different kinds of contracts.

"There is a market rate system which if prices stay the same or go down, is good for the consumer," said David Daniels, of Daniels Energy in Portland, which has two more kinds of contracts , one with a fixed price.

"If prices go up with a fixed price you would still be paying the lower rate," he said.

A price cap is the feature of the third kind of contract.

"With a price cap, if prices go up you'll still pay the lower rate. However if prices decline like they did last year, the savings get passed onto the customer," Daniels said.

Speaking of last year, with all that snow that slowed so many fuel deliveries, Daniels says a heating oil buyer should consider not just the price of filling your tank but a company's reputation for filling your tank.

 "Make sure that you choose a company that will be here to perform if we have a winter like we did last year. We want to make sure they have trained people and enough equipment to service all their customers," he said.

According to the federal government's Energy Information Administration, the average price in Hartford County rose a bit last week, to $2.40 a gallon, $2.25 closer to the terminal in New Haven County, but more than a dollar below the average price this time last fall.

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