Town's plan to cut heating oil prices

August 14, 2008 3:38:05 PM PDT
While prices at the gas pump are falling, there is big concern about heating oil prices this winter. The energy department predicts the average bill will jump by almost a third this fall.

"A month ago it was about $4.69 and I refuse to pay it. I just can't. I've been watching it slowly go down. Tomorrow our delivery will be $3.64 a gallon," Stacey Squire said.

Squire said she's a smart shopper when it comes to buying fuel for her home, but she would like to save even more money.

Councilman Richard Becker is forming an "oil co-op" in the town of Cortlandt that would give residents access to oil at discounted prices.

"We will ensure that the price is always less than anyone can buy on their own," Dr. Becker said.

Becker says he and Councilwoman Ann Lindau are pretty close to a deal with at least four oil distributors.

"We won't be selling oil, buying oil. We will be the middleman who gets the parties together," he said.

After paying a five-dollar enrollment fee, Becker says co-op members would be able purchase oil at about 20-cents a gallon less than the regular retail price. That's a savings of about 200-dollars a year per household.

The concept is the first of its kind for the state.

Becker, a cardiologist, says he came up with the idea after serving patients in his office who make desperate choices during the cold winter months.

"For the elderly and those on a fixed income, if they can't afford the oil, they'll go without," Becker said.

Officials are looking to close a deal by the next town hall meeting on September 16.

STORY BY: Thalia Patillo


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