BY JULIA HEMING Patrick Quick of Quogue Sinclair fills a truck with oil for deliveries.
The price of home heating oil continues to rise, and many Long Islanders might be surprised by the size of their bills when they have their tanks refilled in fall.
Oil companies are unable to do much to help customers: They don’t control the price of oil and have their own struggles with the increase of fuel prices, since their delivery trucks run on diesel. However, many fuel companies are willing to work with the customers to ease the burden somewhat.
Customers who last signed an annual oil contract in 2021 should be prepared to see a steep increase in cost when the time comes to negotiate a new contract. Cash-on-delivery customers should likewise gird themselves for bigger bills.
Currently, the market price of home heating oil is over $5 per gallon — and that’s before it even reaches consumers — with more fluctuation in price than George Schieferstein, general manager of Quogue Sinclair Fuel, has ever seen in his 38 years with the company.
“It’s a sticker shock no matter what,” Schieferstein said. “Even now, I have people who order all year round.”
Oil companies like Quogue Sinclair Fuel in Hampton Bays and Indigo Fuel in Montauk know that customers who are ordering are surprised by current prices.
To make it easier on customers, Quogue Sinclair, a full-service company, is allowing them to purchase fuel at the current price and have the cost divided into 11 monthly payments. Should the price of fuel drop over the course of the payments, the customers’ monthly payment will be lowered.
“As long as you are making a payment, I understand,” President Brenda Sinclair said. “For most people, we are understanding that if you have to make payments to pay it off, we are all in favor of helping you however we can.”
This year, fuel companies reported, many customers are choosing not to open their pools or to wait because of the price of propane for pool heaters.
Indigo Fuel does not offer any fixed-price contracts; it’s exclusively a cash-on-delivery business.
Owner Raymond Valcich said that, at present, his pricing is $587 for 100 gallons, his most expensive delivery, but for a 200-gallon delivery it would be $575 per 100. His cheapest price is $559 per 100 for a 600-gallon delivery.
For COD customers looking to save, ordering at least 200 gallons per delivery is the way to go.
Bigger companies may offer fixed-price contracts that lock in a price per gallon for the year, and the deliveries happen automatically throughout the season, with no need for customers to monitor their tank levels and call in orders.
Ceiling price contracts cost a little more than fixed-price contracts but offer the benefit of the customer saving money if the prevailing price per gallon drops over the course of the year.
Local companies expressed that they understand that customers are shocked by the price and want them to understand that they are struggling too, experiencing constant increases in the price they pay to order oil every day.
One fine body…