Firm taking 'four times' its usual number of orders for heating oil
- Credit: Rix Petroleum
A Breckland heating oil supplier says its order numbers are "four times higher" than usual as customers prepare for the winter months.
Rix Petroleum, based in Snetterton, has reported a surge in orders for domestic heating oil.
But the firm insisted supply levels were "normal", adding that it was unaffected by the national shortage of lorry drivers.
A lack of workers qualified to drive HGVs saw motorists dash to petrol pumps in recent weeks in a bid to beat disruption to the supply chain.
Fears are also growing over a tough winter for thousands of families, with energy prices on the rise.
Rory Beath, director of Rix Petroleum, said there was no need to panic about heating oil, but revealed a sharp rise in people topping up ahead of time.
“There is no shortage of domestic heating oil in the UK and supplies remain at normal levels," said Mr Beath.
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"However, in some areas, the shortage of lorry drivers is having a knock-on effect and extending delivery times by a small amount.
“Compared to the problems people are experiencing at petrol pumps, this is a minor issue and not affecting East Anglia. We have a full crew of drivers who are supplying fuel in line with our normal delivery times.
“One thing we are experiencing, however, is a surge in orders as people top up early. Currently, order numbers are around four times higher than they would normally be in early October."
He added: "Our advice is for people to only order what they need, when they need it. Doing this will prevent problems as we get towards the colder weather."
Dereham-based charity Community Action Norfolk (CAN) has meanwhile warned of issues similar to the fuel crisis.
CAN runs a collective buying scheme called 'ThinkingFuel', which assists members in getting the best oil prices from suppliers.
It has echoed the advice given by Rix, telling consumers to "order in good time" but purchase "only what you need".
Chief executive Rik Martin added: "The panic buying witnessed at petrol stations across the UK is also affecting heating oil, with unprecedented demand and supply issues arising.
"We’re looking at a 15-day delivery timescale just now, but improving all the time."