Experts caution homeowners about home heating contracts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Experts caution homeowners about home heating contracts

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Experts caution homeowners about home heating contracts (WFSB) Experts caution homeowners about home heating contracts (WFSB)

With less than six weeks until the end of summer, many people may start receiving offers in the mail for home heating oil.

The state is cautioning homeowners to be sure to read the fine print before signing any contract.

“We actually already have a contract and we have a cap on our contract. You can’t go above a certain level but is still pretty expensive,” said Jeannine Bradley of Cromwell.

“I pay as I go because I know they fluctuate up and down throughout the year,” said Amber Carbone of Wethersfield.

There are three types of heating oil contracts that may be offered, according to the State Department of Consumer Protection: a fixed price contract, cap price contract and a pre-buy contract.

Fixed price contracts are some of the most popular ones.

It’s a great thing when you lock into a rate and oil prices go up during the year. But last year, the oil prices went down. So people were actually paying a higher rate,” said Jonathan Harris, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection.

As a result, some homeowners complained to the state about the price but because many signed a contract, there isn’t much the state can do.

There are two other types of contracts, including a cap price contract that outlines the maximum amount of money to pay for oil.

“There’s a third type of contract that allows you to spread the cost out maybe not more than just a season. But you budget,” Harris said.

The state won’t recommend which contract would be good for a homeowner because it depends on how much oil is used.

“I think in general it’s good to have some sort of automatic fill deal with an oil company,” Harris said.

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