FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW NEW YORK CITY IS PROTECTING HOMEOWNERS FROM BEING OVERCHARGED FOR HOME HEATING OIL THIS WINTER IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, November 23, 2008
"Good morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Today, I'd like to talk to you about something that hits close to home for many New Yorkers: the cost of home heating oil. More than a million buildings and residences in our city are heated by oil every winter, and as the weather gets colder and demand increases, the price generally does as well. In these tough economic times, we're committed to helping families stretch their dollars further. And even though City government doesn't have any control over the price of oil, we can make sure that consumers are getting every drop they pay for - and that's exactly what we're doing. The steps we're taking don't cost the City much, but they will save you money.
"The City's Department of Consumer Affairs currently oversees a team of inspectors who annually check every one of the more than 1,000 trucks that deliver home heating oil. As part of these inspections, the City makes sure that the meters on the trucks accurately register how much oil they're dispensing. Sometimes when the equipment on the truck is faulty - or has been tampered with - too much air flows through the meter. And when that happens, the air is registered as fuel and you get charged for it! That shouldn't be.
"To help heating oil customers receive the full value they're paying for, last year the Department of Consumer Affairs raised its metering standards to more accurately reflect the amount of oil that is delivered to each home. If we find a truck that does not meet the new standard, we take it off the road until it does. This year, we've suspended 64 trucks.
"More and more truck operators are complying with the new standards because they would rather upgrade their equipment than risk failing inspections and losing business. 80 percent of the trucks checked by Consumer Affairs passed their inspections this year - that's up from only 73 percent that passed last year. So when the heating oil truck pulls up to your home, be sure to look for the City sticker on the outside - that signifies the equipment on the inside has been inspected, passed and sealed. If you don't see a sticker, or see one that is more than a year old, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs by calling 311.
"We're looking out for New Yorkers - but there are also a number of steps you can take to protect yourselves and save some money along the way. First, always use a reputable supplier. You can check a retailer's history by calling 311 and connecting to the Department of Consumer Affairs. Second, make sure you get a written contract - and make sure the sales person signs it. Third, check for any hidden fees before you sign a contract - and consider how firmly your agreement locks you in if the price of oil changes. If you don't like what you see, don't be afraid to renegotiate or look for another distributor. Fourth and finally, do a walkthrough of your home: seal up drafty areas and repair any broken windows.
"Our Administration is committed to doing everything possible to help New Yorkers get through these tough times - and by taking these kinds of practical steps, we'll pull through stronger than ever. For more energy-saving tips call 311 or visit us online at nyc.gov.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958