Liquid Fuel Distributors Working Hard To Deliver Essential Heating Oil To Rural Communities During Coronavirus

27th March 2020

The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), the trade association for the liquid fuel distribution industry says all its distributor members in both the UK and Republic of Ireland have been working hard for the past week in difficult conditions and are urging members of the public not to panic buy.

With heating oil order levels at double the seasonal norm, as many consumers are now either working from home or self-isolating, the heating oil distributors have been working extra hours to deliver heating oil to households in rural communities who are dependent on oil to heat their home and for hot water.

Added to this, the same fuel distributors are also delivering red diesel to the farming community who have now started to work on Spring crops with the dry spell we are experiencing after the very bad storms of earlier in the year. Many construction sites are also still in operation and also require fuel deliveries adding to fuel delivery pressures.

Several of those, many of them small family firms, who are also experiencing staff shortages due to Coronavirus have been going above and beyond to get fuel out to their customers, so people have essential fuel.

Chief Executive of UKIFDA Guy Pulham comments: “We would like to reassure consumers of liquid fuel that as suppliers of essential heating oil and transport fuels, our UKIFDA Full Members are included in the key worker definition.

“COVID 19 has reduced productivity at some member depots with some tanker drivers and call centre staff self-isolating. Members are investing in additional IT to enable admin and call centre staff to work from home.  Some Member drivers are also being based at refinery premises to aid deliveries straight from refineries but due to the unprecedented demand tanker drivers are experiencing queuing and long waits at refineries when collecting fuel and this has also added to overheads for many members.

“Their core staff continue to work very hard in the face of unprecedented demand – there really is no need for panic buying – and so it would be in the interests of your local community if consumers were encouraged to follow this advice.

  • Be patient.  We would advise heating oil consumers to obtain quotes from their local UKIFDA member distributors to get a true reflection of the marketplace for their specific requirements. You then know which distributor you’re speaking to, have a quote for your own circumstances and can arrange a delivery time to suit.
  • Tell them when you will run out so that they can prioritise and don’t leave it until the last minute. Be honest.
  • Explain your circumstances – perhaps you are self-isolating or in one of the vulnerable groups classified by the Government or aged 70+.
  • Don’t order if you don’t need fuel at the moment. This will help spread demand over a wider time period and better fit to resources available given that any driver who shows signs of the virus must self-isolate and thus adds to pressures on the distributors.
  • Please also remember to check the level of oil in your tank on a regular basis as you may be using more heating oil when you are at home more than usual or when the temperature drops and don’t leave ordering oil until the last minute when demand will be higher.

“Many of our members operate the Cold Weather Priority Scheme for those over 75 and some Members are temporarily extending this scheme to offer priority delivery to those in the age bracket 70+ and where possible those who have to self-isolate due to COVID 19. Please check with your UKIFDA member what support they are providing for you.

Consumers can find details of all the local UKIFDA distributor members in both the UK and Ireland who supply their area and then compare prices by visiting https://ukifda.org/find-a-distributor/

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