The American Energy Coalition believes every home and business owner should enjoy peace of mind regarding service and emergency repairs. There is a major difference between Oilheat and gas heat when it comes to providing service at customers' homes.
Natural Gas: Many gas utilities do not provide routine service and maintenance on home heating equipment. While some companies offer sub-contracted service work or provide lists of preferred technicians, many others assume, or even suggest, that the customer ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, or consult the local phone books.1,2,3
Oilheat: Full service Oilheat dealers provide a range of home comfort services, such as:
- Fuel delivery with the option of automatic delivery
- Responsive, round-the-clock service
- Preventive maintenance, including annual tune-ups
- Parts and labor coverage through service contracts
- Heating system efficiency audits
- Installation of money-saving high-efficiency heating systems
- Budget plans
- Conservation advice
In addition, many full service Oilheat dealers also offer:
- Air conditioning service and installation
- Indoor air quality equipment and service
- BPI Certified Home Energy Audits
- Bioheat® Fuel
- Alternative energy solutions such as solar and geothermal systems
Conclusion: Full service is a great value for customers, who can count on one local company to keep their home comfortable and safe. Oilheat customers often stay with the same dealer for decades, developing personal relationships with a high degree of familiarity and trust.
Natural Gas: Gas utilities often provide no emergency service except in cases of a gas leak or odor. The utility gas customer with an equipment failure generally needs to make separate arrangements with private contractors.5 If a gas customer does not retain the services of a contractor in advance, they may have difficulty locating a company to provide immediate service in an emergency, especially during evenings and weekends.
In many cases, a new Natural Gas customer is responsible for their gas fuel line installation and any gas appliance hookup, which includes selecting heating and appliance dealers and contractors. The utility is only responsible for the installation of the gas service line and meter.4
Oilheat: Most full-service Oilheat dealers provide emergency repair service to their clients day and night. In addition, customers protected by a service contract often get priority response guarantees. While equipment malfunctions are rare on well maintained Oilheat systems, dealers are well aware of the potential danger of a no-heat situation, and usually have a technician on call at all times.
Conclusion: A heat outage becomes an emergency quickly in cold weather, threatening health and raising the risk of property damage from frozen water pipes. Oilheat dealers protect customers and their property in the case of an equipment breakdown. Gas utilities do not.
Independent Company or Utility?
Natural Gas: The utilities that sell gas are often multi-state, multi-national, publicly held corporations that enjoy monopoly-type control and are largely shielded from competition.6 The management of these utilities is often diffuse, through many levels of corporate hierarchy up to a distant board of directors.7
Oilheat: Most Oilheat companies are local, family-owned businesses. Competition keeps service levels high and prices in check. In the customer ever has a question, the owner is usually available to discuss the issue. In addition, the company owner and employees are usually members and sponsors of community, charitable and service organizations.
Conclusion: With an independent Oilheat company, the owner is often hands-on management, and knows you, your family and your home heating needs. The natural gas utility is owned by a faceless corporation that knows you only by your account number.