Alternative Energy Resources

Countries around the globe are beginning to harness the power of a range of alternative energy resources, and these limitless sources of energy are being hailed as the answer to the world’s future energy needs, helping us to live more sustainably.

In this post, we’re reviewing some of the alternative power sources used in the UK and the advantages and drawbacks of making the switch.

Examples of Alternative Energy Resources

There are many different types of renewable resources, including:

  • Solar – solar panels can be installed on your home, but ‘solar farms’ are typically needed to generate commercial levels of power.
  • Wind – offshore and inland wind farms are one of the UK’s most prominent types of renewable resources.
  • Hydro – this method involves building dams and using the fast-flowing water to create power.
  • Biomass – this is power from natural sources such as plant matter and animal waste. This can help reduce the carbon footprint of the meat and dairy industries.
  • Geothermal – the UK doesn’t use geothermal power yet, but this method uses steam from reservoirs deep underground to create power.
  • Tidal – one of the more commonly-used types of renewable resource in the UK, tidal power harnesses the energy of the sea and converts it into power.

Advantages of Alternative Power Sources

Of course, the main advantage of using different types of renewable resources is that they are just that – renewable! Reserves of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are finite, so while they aren’t going anywhere just yet, they will run out one day. Renewable energy means harnessing power from the sun, wind and sea, to name a few, so as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, they can generate power.

Additionally, renewable resources are better for the environment than fossil fuels as they contribute to reducing our carbon footprint and minimising the global impact of power generation.

Drawbacks of Alternative Power Sources

Of course, going green and using renewable power is a great concept – we all want to save the planet! But unfortunately, in reality, renewable energy still has a few kinks to work out.

One of the biggest drawbacks of alternative energy resources is reliability. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, between 2020 and 2021 in the UK, renewable energy capacity rose slightly across wind, solar and biofuel, but generation plummeted. As a result, fossil fuel power generation increased by 36% to make up the deficit.

Despite the increasing focus on renewable energy, it seems that non-renewable energy sources, such as those that go into creating heating oil, will also be at the forefront of many UK homes for some time. 

Clean Goals

Recently, PM Boris Johnson announced that the UK is now aiming for all of the UK’s electricity to come from clean energy by 2035. While the specifics are not yet clear, the announcement has been met with criticism that the government is not yet doing enough to make this target realistic. Johnson believes that ‘our own clean power’ is the best way forward, but we’ll have to wait and see if alternative power sources are up to the challenge.

Rix and Different Types of Renewable Resources

At Rix, we’re investing in alternative energy resources – one of the latest additions to the Rix family is Rix Renewables, specialising in the maintenance and upkeep of offshore wind farms and other types of renewable resources.

In the meantime, we’re also investing in Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, or HVO – a new kind of fuel that can be used as diesel or heating oil and emits up to 90% fewer carbon emissions than regular fuel.

As well as working with alternative energy resources, we recommend doing what you can to reduce your carbon footprint wherever possible, so we can all work together on a more sustainable future. To learn more, check out our Corporate Social Responsibility Policy or see our blog for more energy-saving tips!

What Can Bitumen Be Used For?

Bitumen (sometimes referred to as asphalt or tar) is a specialist fuel grade that can be used in applications such as road surfacing, roofing and certain types of paint. It is a unique form of petroleum that we could not live without. Bitumen is only produced in about 65% of refineries around the world and has a yield of only 3-4% of the total crude slate. Here, we discuss the properties of bitumen and share what bitumen can be used for.

What is Bitumen?

Bitumen itself is a black and very sticky liquid. It’s also highly viscous and so full of carbon that it cannot be used for combustion (unlike gasoline, diesel and jet fuel). In fact, bitumen contains so much carbon that unless it is kept headed to a temperature of about 150 degrees Celsius, it solidifies into a rock-hard wax.


As a result, the job of a bitumen tanker driver is extremely hazardous. Bitumen is loaded into road tankers near to boiling point (for maximum viscosity) which means drivers need to wear full, protective head and body-suits for all parts of the body.

What Can Bitumen Be Used For?

  • Road Surfacing

Bitumen becomes a road when mixed with sand, gravel and crushed rock before being laid pancake flat. A phenomenal 90% of the total road network contains bitumen and, in Europe alone, 4 million miles of road are reliant on it! But why is bitumen perfect for road surfacing?


Bitumen can be used for roads because its sticky nature quite literally glues all the construction material together. Plus, bitumen’s waterproofing characteristics are unparalleled, which means that rainwater does not permeate into the road construction and simply runs off. It’s important that road surfaces are resistant to water permeation to reduce the likelihood of cracks, deformations and potholes forming.


As you can imagine, bitumen is also used for other types of surfacing, like pavements, cycle tracks, playgrounds, runways, jetties, bus stops, railway platforms and car parks.


It’s important to note that working with bitumen requires warm and dry weather as laying bitumen in the rain has about as much effect as applying paint to a wet surface. This is why 50% of bitumen is consumed between June and September in Europe.


Thanks to the cold and rainy weather that’s typical of the UK, we tend to have an even shorter window to lay down new roads and road extensions. So, if there’s a lot of road maintenance to do, there’s not a lot of time to do it in.

An extremely smooth road cutting through green fields and trees. The road was likely to have been laid with bitumen due its practical properties.
  • Bitumen Paint

Bitumen paint is used in a host of different places where a protective coating is needed. It can be applied to most materials, including iron, steel, wood and concrete.

Not only is bitumen paint water resistant, but it’s alkaline resistant, too. It is commonly used to coat fire escapes, gutters, pipes, railings, fences, water tanks, boat hulls and more.  

  • Roofing

Almost all modern houses are weather-proofed using bitumen. In fact, approximately 10% of global bitumen production is used for roofing purposes. Before roof tiles go on, a bitumen lining is laid to stop water from seeping in and to make sure everything keeps dry inside.


Using bitumen for roofing purposes is popular because, with the right level of thickness, the bitumen is so long-wearing. Bitumen rooves can last twenty years or more! It’s also extremely unlikely that the bitumen will become damaged by natural elements like UV rays, heat, storms or wind.

Workers laying bitumen on a building's roof. Bitumen can be used for roofing in order to protect the building from water penetration and damp.

Is Bitumen a Product of Petroleum?

Yes – bitumen is a product of petroleum. It is produced by refining crude oil.



What is Bitumen Emulsion?

To make bitumen emulsion, you need to mix together fine droplets of bitumen and water. However, as bitumen is a highly viscous product of petroleum, it doesn’t easily transform into fine droplets. This is where an emulsifier comes in.


An emulsifier is a surface active agent and helps to break down the bitumen into fine particles while keeping these particles suspended.


The amount of bitumen you can add to a water-emulsifier mix is typically anywhere between 40% and 70%. How much bitumen you add will depend on how you want to use the emulsified bitumen.

Is Bitumen Environmentally-Friendly?

Despite its heavy carbon content, bitumen can justifiably claim to be one of the most environmentally friendly crude oil products. Bitumen is not burned and therefore does not produce any CO2 emissions. It may well be packed full of horrible stuff, but bitumen is only used as a construction material and not for its energy-generating, combustion qualities.


Bitumen can also be recycled, which is great news for the environment. In some countries, recycling rates for bitumen are as high as 70%. Simply reheat the product, allow it to melt and, hey presto, it's ready to be used again.



We hope you now have a better understanding of what bitumen can be used for and why it’s popular and practical in the construction sector. To learn more about the different types of petroleum products, such as kerosene, please check out our blog. Or, alternatively contact us at Rix Petroleum for more information.

Why do Planes use Kerosene?

Plane flying above the clouds and towards the sunset.


The number of flights performed per year increased steadily throughout the 2000s and 2010s. In 2019, the number of flights performed annually peaked at 38.9 million. Flying is an essential part of how the world functions, with people holidaying and taking business trips, and freight being transported from country to country. But have you ever thought about the fuel that aeroplanes rely on?


Aviation kerosene is the fuel of choice for aircraft across the globe. But why do planes use kerosene over other types of fuel? Let’s find out…


Why do Planes use Kerosene?


Planes use kerosene for five key reasons:

  • it has a low freezing point
  • it has a low viscosity
  • it’s highly flammable
  • it’s affordable
  • it's considered an all-round safe choice
  1. Low Freezing Point

One of the primary reasons as to why jets rely on kerosene is due to its low freezing point. Aviation kerosene has a freezing point of -47 °C.


Planes fly at extremely high altitudes, which means they spend a lot of airtime in sub-zero temperatures. As a result, planes need to use fuel with a low freezing point – like kerosene - so the fuel functions properly without solidifying during the flight.

  1. Highly Flammable

Kerosene is highly flammable, more so than diesel, which gives it the explosive burning qualities required for take-off. In fact, diesel’s lack of flammability would not generate enough initial power to get the plane off the ground, ruling it out as an option.


Gasoline is also highly flammable, but its energy pay back is poor and fuel consumption too rapid, which is more inefficient. This means a plane would have to carry a greater volume of fuel for the same journey duration.

  1. Low Viscosity

Aviation kerosene is less viscous than gasoline when used during flight, making it the preferred choice for jet crafts. Liquids with a high viscosity are thick, sticky and gluey – this is not an ideal property for jet fuel!


Kerosene maintains a low viscosity during flights thanks to its low freezing point. This means it will keep the plane running as it should and won’t clog up the engine. 

  1. Affordable

Kerosene is much cheaper than gasoline, making it a more affordable option for airlines. Flights are an expensive operation, so its important for airlines to use a cheaper source of fuel without compromising safety.

  1. Safe

Safety is a crucial factor for all airlines, and aviation kerosene is an extremely safe source of fuel.


Firstly, kerosene has a higher flash point than gasoline, meaning its unlikely to cause unplanned combustion.


Secondly, kerosene has a lower freezing point, so it won't thicken up and clog the engine when the plane is moving through extremely low temperatures.


Thirdly, aviation kerosene has additives to enhance its safety and reduce the risk of unplanned hazards. These additives include anticorrosive agents, anti-static chemicals and de-icing agents.



Airport employee in hi-vis jacket refuelling plane with kerosene.

Is Aviation Kerosene and Jet Fuel the Same Thing?


Jet Fuel is most commonly referred to as Jet A1, but its technical name is actually Avtur (Aviation Turbine Fuel). Avtur is designed for use in both turbo-jet and turbo-prop aircraft, which basically accounts for all modern planes of any real size. Avtur can rightfully be mixed up with is standard grade kerosene, because that is what it is, and, in the UK at least, this is the grade of fuel that is also used for heating oil in boilers and home-range cooking stoves!


Aviation Fuel Facts

  • A “standard” 747 in mid-flight will burn approximately 4 litres of fuel every second which, based on a cruising speed of 565 mph, means consumption of 25 litres per mile (giving a fuel economy range of 0.18 miles per gallon!).

  • A 747 has the capacity to carry a staggering 220,000 litres and this only gives it a distance range of around 8,500 miles - not enough to get to Australia from London non-stop.

  • A 747 with a full tank of fuel, adds an incredible 175 tonnes to the plane’s payload.

  • Total consumption of jet fuel in the UK is an impressive 15bn litres per annum, but an incredible 55% of this volume goes through Heathrow – that’s over 22m litres per day.

  • All of Heathrow’s jet fuel comes in by pipeline - either direct from refineries (Immingham, Fawley and Stanlow can all pump product directly into Heathrow’s fuel farm) or via import pipelines from the Thames estuary (over 60% of UK jet fuel is now imported).

  • Once it arrives at Heathrow, the Avtur is stored in the airport tank before being further distributed via its 80 miles of pipelines. This incredible underground “hydrant” system runs the length and breadth of the airport and has multiple fuelling points to allow the airport’s mobile bowsers to connect up and fuel planes across the whole Heathrow complex. 

It’s hard to believe that all this is going on at the airport!


Hopefully you now understand why planes use kerosene over other popular fuels, like gasoline and diesel. Kerosene offers airlines so many benefits including safe flights, lower costs and lighter aircrafts.


To learn more about the advantages of kerosene, have a read of our dedicated post. 

What Does the Future Hold for Energy Prices

Trying to predict the future of energy prices is extremely difficult, and as COVID-19 has taught us all, we never know what’s around the corner! A whole variety of factors come into play here, particularly the impact of COVID-19. That’s why in this article, we’ll help you understand why energy prices increase and what the future has in store for energy prices so you can be prepared as possible in these very uncertain times.

Why do Energy Prices Increase?

In the UK, energy suppliers compete on both price and services to gain more customers than their rivals. Here at Rix, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the very best services and oil prices available on the market.

Energy prices can increase for a number of reasons, including:

  • Consumer demand
  • Available supply
  • Environmental factors
  • Exchange rates
  • Geopolitics

For more information on the range of factors that can impact oil prices, check out our latest blog post.


Here are some of the top factors currently influencing the future of energy prices:



Covid19 Virus

The price of both oil and gas is likely to continue going down until the end of lockdown and the global economy begins to gradually recover and come back to life.

With the pandemic being on the rise once again, Chinese manufacturing has plummeted as a result of the millions of factory workers being in quarantine and reduced demand for oil and gas. This has significantly impacted the rest of the world and the future of energy prices as China is a major oil producer.

According to the BBC, the pressure put on oil prices by the coronavirus has led to a global oversupply of oil. This pressure has resulted in energy prices to reach the lowest level in 20 years. And with the fresh announcement of a month’s lockdown measures for the UK until December, oil prices have reduced another 4% due to further decreases in demand.

US crude oil has particularly suffered from a massive hit as prices fell below $0 as storage facilities were overwhelmed. This even forced oil producers to pay buyers to take barrels off their hands.

Answers to pressing questions such as how damaging the coronavirus has been to the global economy, and as a result, the future of energy prices, and how long it will last are still unclear. However, the crisis is rapidly rising in the UK, with 27,900 new cases a day in England, according to the BBC. And because of these figures, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies have drastically reduced their production per day to prevent oil prices falling any further.

Ofgem Price Cap

Oil Crane in the Sunset

Ofgem, the industry regulator, provides transparency and clarity in the way UK competitors price their energy services. Ofgem also ensures the market remains competitive so consumers achieve the fairest prices possible.

In October 2020, Ofgem reduced the energy price cap by £84 to £1,042, which is the lowest it’s ever been. The cap is a rate that is set by Ofgem every year to control the limit on the unit rate that energy suppliers charge.

Ofgem has recently put in place new rules which affect the future of energy prices. These rules protect UK households through the coronavirus crisis by agreeing to an energy price cap for 2020 and beyond. This ensures that all customers in the UK are treated fairly through these difficult times and prevents people from paying too much on their bills.

These new rules will particularly protect vulnerable households during the pandemic as anyone unable to pay their winter energy bills will be provided with additional help from their suppliers. Energy suppliers will be required to offer customers more realistic repayment plans if they are struggling with any debt. This will prevent households from being left without any heating in the winter when the coronavirus takes a further toll on the UK’s economy.

2021 Energy Price Increases

We’ll likely see energy price increases in 2021. This is because Ofgem has also stated that the oil price cap may need to rise in April 2021 to reflect a recovery in energy market prices. The energy price increases will allow energy suppliers to cover their costs and make up for the high levels of energy customers that’ve been unable to pay their bills due to the coronavirus.

With all the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, we realise that many people are seeking ways to save money. Thankfully, Rix can provide you with excellent quality maintenance checks and services that will save you money in preparation for potential energy price increases in 2021. We provide an exclusive Rix Anti-Bug Treatment that’ll prevent any heavy repair costs in the long run by killing any microbiological growth that can cause damage to your tank.

Rix Services

Here at Rix, as we are a market leader we are able to provide competitive prices and trustworthy services to meet our customer’s needs, regardless of what state the economic climate the UK is in.  Therefore, if you have an enquiry about our domestic, agricultural or commercial oil services, contact our local depot where a member of our friendly team will assist you in any way that they can.

Winter Fuel Payments in the UK Explained

Winter Fuel Payment in the UK is a tax-free, annual lump sum payment to help pensioners with home heating oil costs over winter. If you qualify for Winter Fuel Payment, it’s vital that you receive the correct amount and on time so you can keep yourself warm during the coldest months.

In this complete guide, we’ll explain who qualifies for Winter Fuel Allowance in 2020/2021, how to claim your payment if you don’t receive it automatically, how much you should expect to receive, and more. 


Who Qualifies for Winter Fuel Allowance?

You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if you:

  • were born on or before 5 October 1954 and lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 21 to 27 September 2020 (this is the ‘qualifying week’).

The eligibility birth date changes every financial year.

If you were not living in the UK during the ‘qualifying week’, you might still be eligible for the payment if you:

  • live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA)* country and have a genuine or sufficient link to the UK e.g. you may have lived or worked in the UK, or you may have family in the UK.

*EEA countries include Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway only.

How Much is the Winter Fuel Payment 2020 to 2021

The Winter Fuel Payment you receive depends on your circumstances during the ‘qualifying week’. The ‘qualifying week’ for winter 2020 to 2021 was the week of 21 to 27 September 2020.

If you qualify and live alone (or with no one else who qualifies), you will receive:

  • £200 – born between 28 September 1940 and 5 October 1954
  • £300 – born on or before 27 September 1940

If you qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies, you will receive:

  • £100 – born between 28 September 1940 and 5 October 1954
  • £200 – born on or before 27 September 1940

If you qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies, you will receive:

  • £100 – born between 28 September 1940 and 5 October 1954
  • £150 – born on or before 27 September 1940

If you qualify and live in a care home and do not get certain benefits, you will receive:

  • £100 – born between 28 September 1940 and 5 October 1954
  • £150 – born on or before 27 September 1940

If you or your partner receive one of the following benefits, your payment may be different:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support

To learn more about how these benefits could affect your Winter Fuel Payment, please refer to the Government’s website.

A snowy, winter landscape with snow-covered trees, a lake and a small boat.


When Wil I Receive my Winter Fuel Allowance?

You should receive your payment sometime during November or December.

If you do not receive your Winter Fuel Payment into your account by 13 January 2021, you need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.

If you’ve had a change in circumstance that may affect your Winter Fuel Allowance, you’ll also need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. For example, you may need to report a change of address or if you’ve moved into a care home.



How Do I Claim Winter Fuel Allowance?

Typically, you don’t need to claim your Winter Fuel Payment as you should receive your payment automatically into your account, such as a bank account if you are eligible. This is the case even if it is the first year you are eligible unless any of the following apply:

  • You do not get benefits or a State Pension
  • You only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
  • You get benefits or a State Pension but live in Switzerland or an eligible EEA country

If you have received your Winter Fuel Payment in previous years, you only need to make a claim if:

  • You have deferred your State Pension
  • You have moved to Switzerland or an eligible EEA country

To claim your Winter Fuel Allowance, just get in touch with the Winter Fuel Payment Centre via phone or post.



Do You Get Winter Fuel Allowance if You Live Abroad?

If you were living abroad during the ‘qualifying week’, you may still be eligible to receive the payment if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You were born on or before 5 October 1954
  • You live in Switzerland or an EEA country (with exceptions)
  • You have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK e.g. your family may live in the UK
  • You’re covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

The only EEA countries included in the eligibility criteria are Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain are excluded because the average winter temperatures in these countries is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

We hope this guide has helped you to understand the Winter Fuel Payment system in the UK. With or without an allowance, everybody wants to secure the best home heating oil prices. To learn how to keep your costs down, read our complete guide or contact us for a competitive heating oil quote.

Rix Petroleum agrees year-long partnership with Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance

Leading family fuel supplier Rix Petroleum Ltd is flying high with its latest charity tie up.

The company has formed a year-long partnership with the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance service and aims to raise thousands of pounds for the charity.

Under the agreement, Rix Petroleum will proudly display the ambulance’s branding on the back of selected tankers which makes regular deliveries across the two counties.

The company’s name will also appear on the ambucopter itself in the form of a bespoke tail wrap as part of their 25th anniversary In Safe Hands Campaign.  

Rix Petroleum supplies domestic heating oil and commercial diesel to homes, farms and businesses in the East Midlands from depots across Lincolnshire, along with agricultural lubricants, heating services, boilers and tanks.

As well as the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, the company supports air ambulance services in Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

Duncan Lambert, Managing Director of Rix Petroleum Ltd, described Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance as a ‘truly worthy cause’, adding he was delighted to be partnering with the charity.

He said: “Rix Petroleum has been serving farms, rural businesses and rural communities for almost 100 years, so we know that living and working in the most remote areas of the country can be very hazardous.

“This is why the air ambulance services are so vital to the communities we serve.

“They are equipped to get to remote areas faster than any other form of emergency transport and by doing so, save lives on a regular basis.

“The crews do fantastic work in what are often difficult conditions, helping to look after and protect the communities we support, which is why we’re delighted to support them.”

The company will be running a comprehensive programme of fundraising events over the next 12 months and is encouraging all of its employees to get involved.

Activities will range from physical challenges such as bike rides, runs and walks to fun packed events like It’s a Knockout, competitions, dress down days and raffles.

Customers will also be able to donate to their local air ambulance service via the Rix Petroleum website.

Tanya Taylor, Corporate Fundraiser at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, said: “We are incredibly grateful to be working with Rix Petroleum.

“With their support, not only will this help to raise awareness of the lifesaving work we do at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, but it will also help to raise funds for our vital service. 

“As a charity, we receive no direct Government funding, so every penny really does make a difference and helps us to save even more lives every single day of the year.  

“We quite literally could not provide our vital emergency medical service without the help and continued support we receive from our local communities.”

Rix Petroleum acquires Gainsborough-based fuel supplier

Two men in hi-vis jackets smiling and shaking hands in front of Rix Petroleum truck.

Fuel supplier Rix Petroleum has extended its coverage in the East Midlands with the acquisition of a Lincolnshire business.


The Yorkshire company has bought Gainsborough-based K9 Fuels for an undisclosed sum.


The move extends Rix Petroleum’s coverage in Lincoln, Market Rasen, Gainsborough, Horncastle, Louth, Spilsby and Retford, and enables the business to push into Worksop, Newark and Nottinghamshire for the first time.


It brings to three the number of Rix depots across Lincolnshire, adding to existing operations in Immingham and Spalding.


Duncan Lambert, managing director of Rix Petroleum, paid tribute to former owners Ken and Ann Shingdia who sold the business after deciding to retire.


Ken and Ann owned K9 Fuels for 10 years and have developed it into a thriving business with a loyal customer base.


Mr Lambert said: “K9 Fuels is a fantastic business run very much along the same lines as Rix Petroleum. We are both family firms with a deep-rooted commitment to dependable and friendly customer service.


“When we heard Ken and Ann had decided to retire, we immediately expressed an interest in the business because it sits between our other Lincolnshire operations in Immingham and Spalding, meaning we have extended our coverage of the region to include mid-Lincolnshire and west into Nottinghamshire.”


Under the deal, all the staff at K9 Fuels will continue to work at the business.


The move also creates two new jobs, including business manager role, which will be filled by Steve Ella, and a new driver’s role.


The tanker fleet is to be updated with state-of-the-art technology and branding that reflects both the K9 Fuels and Rix Petroleum names.


The move also sees products and services available from the Gainsborough business extended, as customers will now be able to get access to boiler repairs, replacement tanks, lubricants and AdBlue.


Mr Lambert added he wished Ken and Ann all the best with their retirement.


“Ken and Ann have built a fantastic business which has attracted a loyal customer base and we feel privileged they have chosen us to take that business forward,” he said.


“We intended to make the transition as smooth as possible so customers can be assured of complete continuity of service.”


Mr Shingdia said that finding the right successor to take the business on had been one of the biggest challenges of deciding to retire.


But he added that with more than 80 years’ experience in delivering fuel, he believed Rix Petroleum was the right choice to continue where he and Ann had left off.


“We are pleased to say that we have been able to secure a sale and pass the full operation over to Rix Petroleum, another local and family-owned business,” he said.


“We have complete confidence that what we have worked hard to achieve will continue in the safe hands of a company that shares our own values and attitude towards customer service.”

What support can I get to meet my energy costs

 June 06, 2013

With the cost of annual energy bills continuing to rise, consumers will be increasingly looking for ways to reduce their energy costs – and this could include anything from minimising their energy usage to taking advantage of government grants and any other support which is available to them.


Here are just a few resources that consumers can draw on to help with their energy costs on an ongoing basis:


Warm Home Discount Scheme


The warm home scheme offers a rebate on electricity bills for qualifying pensioners, which currently equates to £135 off your electricity bill for winter 2013 -2014.

The scheme is run by energy suppliers, who are legally obliged to offer the rebate, and will run each winter until 2014/15.

If you are a pensioner as of 20 July 2013, you are eligible for the 2013 and 2014 scheme if the following conditions apply:

  • You are aged over 75 and receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit. This even applies if you also get the Savings Credit part.
  • You are aged under 75 and receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit; but don’t receive the Savings Credit part.


Winter Fuel Payments


If you were born on or before 5 July 1951 you could receive a tax-free sum of between £100 and £300 pounds to help with the cost of your energy bills, whether that’s for gas, electricity or heating oil.


This Winter Fuel Payment is paid automatically in November and December, and your payment should be received by Christmas.


You may also qualify for a winter fuel payment if you live in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.


Cold Weather Payment


The 2013 to 2014 Cold Weather scheme begins in November 2013 and for every 7-day period of cold weather, stretching from 1 November and 31 March, it offers a payment of £25.

The payment is normally available to households in receipt of benefits including Universal Credit, Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Ofgems role in the energy market A brief guide

 June 13, 2013

Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is the UK’s electricity and gas market regulator, which describes its key priority as ‘making a positive difference for energy consumers’.

The regulator’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Issuing licences to new energy suppliers and ensuring that they are working to meet the needs of customers
  • Regulating and delivering government schemes
  • Helping to ensure the sustainability and security of supply for present and future generations

Here are just some of the ways in which the regulator has acted to support the interests of domestic energy users:

Investigating energy companies

Ofgem can carry out investigations on energy suppliers if it feels that they are breaching consumer protection law or breaching the terms of their licence or acting anti-competitively, and issue penalties as and when required.

As an example, the regulator has recently fined British Gas Trading Ltd and RWE npower plc for £2.5m and £2m respectively for failing to deal with customer complaints appropriately.

Increase competition

Ofgem has recently argued that it aims to "break the stranglehold of the big six energy suppliers", and increase competition in the wholesale energy market, making room for smaller suppliers to capture a greater share of the market.

Under the proposals Centrica (British Gas), E.ON, SSE, Npower, EDF and ScottishPower will have to publish the prices at which they purchase and sell electricity up to two years in advance.

Tackling energy market manipulators

Ofgem is set to receive fines to tackle those who attempt to manipulate the energy market, under the Regulation of Wholesale Energy Markets and Transparency (REMIT) which will be introduced to parliament by energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey, and must be brought into effect by the end of June.

This would see the regulator being able to issue unlimited fines and give the regulator powers toseize data and inspect premises, as part of its investigations.

This is particularly important for the heating oil market, as the European Union’s antitrust chief has argued that oil price rigging has caused “huge” damage to consumers.

Ten surprising renewable energy facts

 June 28, 2013

From solar panels to wind farms, many of us may feel that we know all there is to know about renewable energy and the various ways it can benefit our homes.

However, there is a whole world of renewable energy facts that shed light on more than just reduced carbon emissions and multi-million pound investment programmes. Here are just a few:

  • The idea of renewable energy is far from new. Albert Einstein was one of its earliest pioneers, winning a Nobel Prize in Physics for his innovative experiments with photovoltaics and solar power.
  • Solar power is...well...powerful. In 1990 a world record was set when a solar-powered aircraft flew across America in 21 stages – without using any fuel!
  • The world’s largest wind turbine is set to be built in Scotland. A 171m wind turbine will shortly be constructed in the Scottish coastal town of Methil.
  • Wind turbines can produce significant amounts of electricity.  One wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power as many as 300 homes.
  • The Romans recognised the benefit of renewable energy. As well as constructing roads and introducing modern drainage systems, Romans were the first to heat their homes using geothermal energy.
  • The most commonly used renewable energy source is...water. Hydro power generates enough power to meet the needs of 28.3 million people.
  • Wind turbines don’t need a substantial amount of wind. Wind speeds of just 10mph are all that are needed to set wind turbines in motion and generate electricity. Considering that the majority of wind speed sites in the UK have speeds of between 10-17 mph, wind turbines should be ticking over most of the time.
  • The Earth’s geothermal energy may be more easily accessible in some parts of the UK. Underground steam or water can be utilised to heat our homes, though geothermal energy is closer to the surface in some parts of the UK.
  • Solar energy could heat the world. If solar energy could be harnessed correctly then it is feasible that enough energy could be generated for the entire world for a full 12 months.
  • Renewable energy could take centre stage by 2050. According to the WWF, by 2050 ‘we could get all the energy we need from renewable sources’.

Renewable energy is likely to be used alongside non-renewable energy for some time to come. If you are a heating oil user, ask your supplier about their current offers to help reduce your energy costs.