Over 1100 Ceredigion residents are buying fuel together in clubs across the county.
The clubs have successfully delivered enormous benefits to their members, with many serving their communities for several years. They have been set up and organised by highly motivated people working on a voluntary basis.
What is an oil buying syndicate?
An oil buying syndicate (also known as an oil club or oil co-operative) enables people to join together to bulk purchase heating oil at a discounted price. Syndicate sizes can vary, from just a few neighbours, to larger community groups with a hundred or more members. In most groups, orders are managed by one or more volunteer co-ordinators who negotiate a competitive price from fuel
How often do they order?
Ordering frequencies range from every fortnight in times of peak demand, down to 3 times a year. Some order on the 1st day of every month and some have an ad-hoc approach, based on demand. Often they will avoid ordering in December and January when demand is high and suppliers may prioritise individual ordering and load prices.
What are the benefits?
Savings - Syndicate members can benefit from financial savings. Savings are made on bulk purchasing but they can also be made because, on becoming part of a syndicate, people with existing long term agreements sometimes find they are already paying higher than average prices. In some cases in Ceredigion, people have saved up to a third on their fuel bill. This was through the combination of bulk buying and ceasing to pay a higher rate. One syndicate in Ceredigion has recorded savings between £26 and £76 per 1000 litre order - roughly 10% average savings over an 18 month period. However, levels of savings varied dramatically from 1-2p per litre (£10-£20 per 1000 litre order) with some syndicates reporting up to 20p per litre savings.
Carbon - Syndicate ordering also saves carbon and so helps mitigate against the effects of climate change. A syndicate of five households in the same village can potentially reduce the number of tanker journeys from five to one. Fuel suppliers working with syndicates in Ceredigion cite the benefits of supplying groups in smaller areas, including the time saved through community bulk orders.
Community – People enjoy being part of a syndicate because it is another way of linking with your community. Some clubs are organised around local shops, pubs or community centres. While the vast majority of volunteer co-ordinators do not charge a fee for processing orders, some charge a nominal fee to help support community facilities.
How do I become a member of my local club?
Find your club and contact your local co-ordinator, they will let you know how the club runs and what details you need to give them, most run via email or through a central community centre.
This toolkit gives you a step by step guide on how to develop an effective network of fuel clubs in your area.
It was written by Ymlaen Ceredigion, based on learning from Ceredigion’s Club Cosy project, funded by Welsh Government - delivered by Ymlaen Ceredigion, www.ymlaenceredigion.org.uk in partnership with Ceredigion County Council.
It highlights key issues to think about when building a network, such as addressing fuel poverty and considering how oil suppliers operate.
It is aimed at:
- Local Authorities
- Community based organisations
- Housing Associations
It is particularly useful for those organisations working in off-gas, rural areas. It differs from other toolkits in that it does not aim to be only a ‘how to’ guide for new co-ordinators, though we have included that information. There are already many good examples of toolkits for co-ordinators, it is more a strategic guide aimed at organisations who wish to optimise fuel syndicate.
For more information on winter warmth schemes to assist those most in need as well as funding opportunities available to householders - both from a national and local perspective to ensure that people don't have to live in cold conditions please refer to Ceredigion's Cymdogion Cynnes guide:
Ceredigion Oil clubs can help you save money, connect to our community and reduce carbon emissions.
They are run by community volunteers, who all run their groups slightly differently. If you leave a message via phone or email they will get back to you within a few days or as soon as they can. To find the details of an oil club that covers your local area and the community coordinator, see the list below.
Capel Iwan Fuel Club
Sally Sendall - 01559 370398
Cenarth Heating Syndicate
Joy Jones - 01239 711476
Peta Millard - 01239 710025
Felinfach Oil Syndicate
Arnold Phipps-Jones - 07894831609
Llandewi Brefi Fuel Club - c/o New Inn, Llanddewi Brefi
Yvonne Edwards - 01974 298452
Llangeitho and Area Fuel Club
Phyllis Eldridge - 01974 821554
Oakford Oil Syndicate
Bob Turner - 01545 580674