August 16, 2022
Energy Co-op membership benefits

By Brian Gray

50 years ago, 90% of the homes in Vermont were primarily heated with oil. Today, that percentage is down to 43%. But, while the market for heating oil is declining, the cost of heating fuel is highly volatile. What does that mean for companies that sell heating oil and for homeowners who still heat with oil?

You may have heard the Energy Co-op call itself "A Different Kind of Energy Company." Unlike for-profit companies that only sell heating oil, delivering heating oil is not our primary goal. Because of our cooperative business model, our goal is not to maximize profit, but to provide the best value and benefits for our members. In fact, instead of trying to sell you MORE fossil fuel, we want you to use less.

What we call the "co-op advantage" relates to the fact that our members are also owners, so we work for YOU. Here are examples of what sets us apart and how we deliver this advantage:

Last winter when the price of heating fuel hit historic highs, our staff organized an outreach program to call our customers in advance of scheduled deliveries. We took this step to be sure that our customers were aware of the latest prices and offer to limit the quantity of fuel delivered or change the scheduled delivery date.

We have long promoted our budget and price protection payment programs to mitigate the risk of spiking oil prices. Last winter many of our customers saved significant money by locking in a lower price for their heating fuel before the season began. However, when price volatility is extreme, our Price Protection programs carry a higher downside risk. This year we are offering a program that acknowledges this risk and assures that our members choose one that is right for them.

We also help our members manage the risk of higher fuel prices in other important ways:

  • We offer products and services that improve the energy efficiency of their homes so that they "use less."
  • Our in-house efficiency team provides energy audits and weatherization.
  • Our expert service team is certified to install the latest energy efficient furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and hot water heaters.
  • Our member services staff is trained to navigate confusing equipment options and identify available rebates to help decide which upgrades and investments in your home's efficiency will give you the best "bang for your buck."
  • Our emergency service technicians are there when you need them, 24/7.
  • When you call us, you'll always talk with a "real" person who knows your account history.

Our dedication to the reduction of fossil fuel use and fighting climate change begins right here at home – your home. Finding ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs always comes first.

It's easy to say that the advantage of joining the Co-op is that you'll save 13¢ a gallon on heating fuel and you'll easily save your $12.00 annual membership fee on your first fuel delivery. But beyond that, the most important advantage of Co-op membership is that you can rely on us to be your "energy coach." For us, winning means achieving the highest efficiency score possible for your household and helping you navigate the ups and downs of energy costs for the vibrant Vermont community that we call home.